Rite of Passage Parenting: Letter to lovers, part IV
(Check out the past three columns if you missed Parts 1-3.)
Dear Daniel and Ashley,
Through these letters, we have covered some basics of a God-relationship. Daniel, I have instructed you in how to love Ashley. Ashley, I have taught you some ways to show respect to Daniel. Now, I want to go a different direction.
God has put you two together for one reason: He can enlarge his Kingdom better through your marriage than through your singleness. Your relationship is a win/win for all of you. The two of you find love and all it entails; you experience new beginnings as you become one; and one day, God gets little missionaries!
You may not have realized it, but your relationship exists so God can enlarge His Kingdom. Everything He does has a Kingdom focus. In Genesis 22:16-18, God swore upon himself that through Abraham and his children’s children’s children “all nations on Earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me.” He wants to use you and your children as the vehicle by which the nations come to a saving knowledge of Himself.
God has two ways He intends to use you to accomplish this. First, He wants to combine your giftedness. He designed you before the foundation of the world—for Himself and for each other. Now, He is taking these two designs and making them one. You complement one another, so the sum will be greater than the parts.
When I met my wife, we each had our own ministry. I never anticipated He would use our union to enlarge His Kingdom in 39 countries and counting. Neither of us could have accomplished this on our own. God made it possible by bringing our giftedness together.
God also wants to enlarge his Kingdom through the miracle of birth. One of your most important discussions concerns your intentions in having a child. God has a purpose in this process. Remember His first commandment: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the Earth and subdue it’” (Genesis 1:28). He also says, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalms 127:3-5).
As we have children and train them to be Kingdom conscious, God’s Kingdom grows. He sees every child as his missionary. We must equip and train them to hear and follow His voice. That’s why I want to share four important decisions you must make before marriage:
1. Purpose in your hearts to give your child back to God. When you bring a new little one home from the hospital, hold the baby up in front of a world map and pray that God will use the child to bring His glory to others. Thank God for allowing you to train the next Kingdom builder.
2. Purpose in your hearts to give your child a name that expresses a characteristic that child will grow to become. Both my sons have grown into their names. Naming your child is your first act of lordship, and should only be undertaken with much prayer.
3. Purpose in your hearts that you will give your child a rite of passage. You are not called to raise children, but capable, responsible, self-reliant adults. Plan from the beginning to provide closure to their childhood. God will speak to you about the right time and season. But as early as possible, you must implant the concept that a day will come when they will put away childish things.
4. Purpose in your hearts that you will model a Kingdom lifestyle. Much of a child’s learning is not taught, but caught. Kingdom living goes beyond attending church on Sundays and Wednesdays. It happens when Mom and Dad live the life of Christ before their children. As your children watch you grow in the things of God, they will embrace your compassion for a lost and dying world.
I have more to share with you, but space limits us. These words of wisdom come from a man who wishes someone had spoken them into his life. I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I do know God’s Word is true. If you heed these instructions, you will be far ahead on the road toward a life of blessing. Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
God wants you to have freedom in your dating relationship, in your marriage and in your family. And the ones He sets free are free indeed!
Your servant, Walker Moore
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.