A Foretaste of Heaven
If you are a parent, you know the many ways in which being a parent calls upon your deepest resources.
An Earthly Picture of a Heavenly Love
Someone once said that we begin to glimpse that unfathomable, agape love of the Father for His children when we ourselves become parents. As those feelings for our own children rise in our hearts, we get a sense of the unconditional love of God. I’m convinced that the closest thing to God’s love is the love of a mother.
Parenting often means making sacrifices for your children that you would never make for anyone else and would otherwise never think of making. All who are parents have experienced this. While we were children, we were most often unaware of their sacrifices, but as adults we begin to understand.
Sadly, the Word of God also posts a warning:
“…in the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection…having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
The phrase “without natural affection” literally means “without family love.” Faith begins at home. If you can live for Jesus at home, you can live for Jesus anywhere. If you can’t live for Jesus at home, it doesn’t really matter where you try to live for Jesus. And if you claim to be a Christian but dishonor your parents, all you’ve got is a form of godliness. You don’t have the real thing.
In my estimation, the respect and obedience a child shows his parents is a strong indication of how the child will turn out. I'm not alone in that opinion. Dwight L. Moody said, “I’ve lived 60 years, and I’ve learned one thing if I’ve learned nothing else: no man or woman who dishonors father or mother ever prospers.”
How Should We Honor Our Parents?
“Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12
God gave ten commandments, but the fifth, “Honor your father and mother,” is the one with a promise: “that it may be well with thee and that thou mayest live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:3) Before God tells us “don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery,” He tells us to honor our father and mother. So when we observe Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, we are obeying Scripture
Three Ways to Honor Your Parents
You can honor your father and mother in three ways: Obey them when you are young, care for them when they are old, and show them respect at all times. “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad that she bear thee and she that bear thee shall rejoice.” Proverbs 23:24-25.
You honor your parents when you:
- Treat them respectfully.
- Express gratefulness. Give them thanks. Learn to develop the attitude of gratitude. Have you thanked your parents for all that they’ve done?
- Listen to their counsel.
- Show your parents love. Think what you owe your parents. They gave you life.
- Make wise choices. Conduct your life in a manner that will never bring shame upon your parents, your name, or the name of Christ.
Before my parents went to heaven, one of the greatest joys of my life was to do something that would cause them to rejoice and say, “Adrian, we're proud of you.” I’m so grateful for that.
Reflect upon how you are living today. Does your life honor God and give your parents joy? Does it gladden the heart of God? Children are an extension of their parents. When my children do something good and godly, that gives me such great joy. Live in such a way as to cause your parents to say, “Thank God for my children.” 3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Your parents will have no greater joy than this.
Why don’t you sit down and write a letter to your mother or father and tell them how grateful you are for them? I’ll tell you one thing, they will read it over and over again. And when they die and you’re going through their things, you’ll find that letter tucked away in their most treasured possessions. Do it rather than saying, “I wish I had.” And if your parents are not living, give them honor and thank God for their memory.
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