(To read the previous articles in the series, please see this link.) I am amazed at all of the fantastic, fun things there are on this earth for our pleasure. I loved the challenge and sensations of flying small planes. I loved the wind and salt spray in my face as I would tack a small sailboat into the wind. I loved the rush of acceleration and breeze as the motorcycle gained speed on the highway. I loved canoeing down a spring rain-swollen stream with the sound of rushing water in my ears. It has been many years since I enjoyed those activities, because I know how easily my heart is drawn into them. Are any of those things sin? Most would say, “No, of course not! God gave us this world to enjoy.”
Am I saying that these things are bad? No, they are not inherently bad. I know many missionaries rely on small planes for supplies and might use canoes or motorcycles in their travels. However, they are not good if they are getting in the way of something better the Lord has to offer. You see, I know my own heart, how easily it is distracted from my Lord Jesus and what He has called me to do. Fun activities of self-indulgence get in the way of raising godly children and serving our Lord by stealing away the time God would want me to use for His work. So, what is the point of all of this?
As we continue our discussion on God’s blueprint for a Christian home, we see another aspect of God’s earthly home, the temple; it was a place of sacrifice. It was where a vivid picture of our Lord Jesus’ final sacrifice was presented repeatedly before the eyes of those present. I say final because His life was a sacrifice day by day and ended with the greatest sacrifice on the cross. The priests were involved in the bloody, messy work of daily sacrificing in the temple. Have you ever wondered why God chose to make blood red? He could have made it so that it didn’t stain the clothes of those involved in the sacrifice. However, because it was red, everyone knew who was involved in the sacrifice.
I see a wonderful picture for us dads in all of this. The Lord Jesus calls dads of Christian homes to a life of sacrifice. There are so many wonderfully fun things in this world to spend our time, attention, and money on. However, if we do, we can be sure we will create the same passions in the lives of our children. So, instead of raising children with a zeal for the Lord Jesus and serving Him with their whole heart, body, soul, and strength, we will have produced children with a love for the fun and entertaining things of this world. On the other hand, when our desire is to sacrifice our lives for our Lord, we demonstrate the spirit of God’s design for the father of a Christian home, and thereby reproduce children of like mind and heart.
God gives us good gifts so we can give them back to Him. Our family, our time, and our money are all to be laid on the altar for His glory. I desire to lay it all down before my Lord. I truly want God’s best for my life. I know that if I give it back to Him, He will make the best of it. If I give Him my right to recreation and having “time for myself,” I know that He will pour out such blessings as I cannot imagine. I look at the lives of true men of God such as Hudson Taylor and George Mueller. They wanted God’s best and abandoned their own interests. I see them as men filled with joy and a passion for their Lord.
Sadly, I believe that is what makes the distinction between a Christian home and one of the world’s. A worldly home is where the father has his attention on the fun things the world has to offer because he knows he has to “get all the gusto” he can now. The attitude that we can do whatever we want as long as we don’t “cross the line of sin” is wrong. The father of a Christian home is working here now, with the anticipation of eternity with his Lord.
Jesus did and said only what His Father told Him to. “. . . The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). As we read about Jesus’ life, we see no mention of His having His own time for fun. His was a life of sacrifice!
I’m humbled when I look at my Lord’s life and feel that I’m still holding on to so much of my own pleasures. I pray God would continue to work in my life as He reveals the joy of sacrifice. May we dads never settle for anything less than God’s best.