Relationships – Day 5
Relationships: Grow together
T.S. Elliot wrote: “The family is the place where children’s paths of life begin. There the course and nature of the road are determined”. Proverbs 22:6 confirms his words: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
The foundation of spiritual development and growth lies in our relationship with the Lord: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Within the family, this command is an activity of growing together: parents should guide their children into this special relationship with God. Deuteronomy 6:7-9 teach us how: keep the words of God in your heart; teach them diligently to your children; talk about it — in your house, on the road, when you go to sleep and when you wake up; remember it; write it down and make it visible in your house.
When we pray together, we grow in the notion that we are dependent on Someone bigger and mightier than ourselves. It is a joint recognition that God is our Helper, Provider, Saviour — and yes, the I Am — that dwells amongst his people. Our prayers of faith in God bring his hand in motion: When we pray for our enemies, we disarm them; when we pray for our loved ones, we protect and empower them; and when we pray for leaders and people in high places, it makes it possible for us too: “… lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:2).
Emotions are a given in every person’s life. However, how we deal with a specific emotion at a particular moment has the ability either to draw people closer to one another or to drive a wedge between them. Jesus declares His love to His disciples and uses it as an example for how we should love one other: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, you also love one another” (John 13:34). Even if we are angry, it must testify to our love for God and the person we are angry at: “Be angry, and do not sin, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place for the devil” (Ephesians 4:26).
Jesus touches on another aspect of growth: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Adults need to pay attention to children’s actions, delve in the Word for clues, and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those qualities of children that He values so highly. Then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we must begin to steer our lives in that direction.