Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why I Do What I Do

As I'm sitting surrounded by a sea of papers, grades, and books, I'm tempted to get discouraged. 

You know, when I fix my eyes on myself, and my woeful inadequacies?  It's all too easy to want to throw in the towel.

And then. . . .  I run across this gem at the Well-Trained Mind Forum.  Not original to me, but speaks so many of my thoughts today.

May it inspire you, as well.

I am training my children in the way they should go. I am teaching them when I rise up and when I lay down and when I walk. I am teaching them that everything they do must be honorable to God and to His glory. I am training them to think biblically and to memorize scripture and to analyze culture in the light of scripture. I am teaching them that they must prefer God, and that taking the gospel to the nations is glorifying to God. I am teaching them that the glory of God is the point of the universe.

I teach them that they must master grammar because language is the medium through which God gave us His word. If they are to correctly understand the Word of God, they must understand grammar. The Word of God is comprised of words and phrases and clauses and nouns and verbs and indirect objects and past tense verbs and present tense verbs and modifiers. They must master this so that they know what God has said. Further, in order to take the gospel to others we must be able to articulate it in the language we are speaking. Grammar exists for God.

I teach them that they must become good spellers so that they can communicate the gospel clearly when writing. Spelling exists for God.

I teach them history as God's working out of his plan in the universe, to His glory and for His purposes, thereby teaching them about their awesome God who frustrates the plans of the nations and sets up kings and deposes kings and wages war and determines history. My children are being taught that God rules sovereignly over history that nothing in history happens apart from the sovereign rule and purpose of God. As they see their God more clearly, they love Him more dearly and become jealous to see His name proclaimed among the nations. History exists for God.

I teach them logic as God's design for correct thinking and reasoning, so they can think clearly and reason well. If they are trained in correct thinking and reasoning then they can see better the beauty of the mind of their God as it is revealed in scripture. And then, as they take the gospel to others, they will not be mislead by false doctrine. They will see through the humanistic mechanisms of our culture. They will understand better how to explain the truth of God in the face of the depraved and distorted thinking that so characterizes the world we live in. By teaching them logic, I am teaching them to protect themselves AND to better reason with those who are deceived. Logic exists for the glory of God.

I teach them science and math so that they can see the hand of God in the order and precision by which He has created the universe. The heavens proclaim the glory of God, but it is so easily suppressed. Naturalistic thinking pervades even the Christian church and God is ignored. By teaching science and math as a glorious picture of the stunning capability of the mind of God, His glory stands forth to my children. We rejoice over our God, and they are thereby more bold in proclaiming his name to their friends and family. This is glorifying to God. Science and Math cannot be correctly understood apart from their relationship to God. Science and math exist for God.

I teach them Bible. We read the Bible, we ask questions of the Bible, we memorize Bible, we write about Bible--outlining, dictation, etc., we read commentaries and look at maps and check atlases of Bible lands and compare scripture with scripture and interpret our lessons through the Bible. We learn about missionaries and other countries and understand why we need to take the gospel to the nations. We apply Bible to our own culture and try to understand our culture in the light of scripture. The Bible is the backbone of what we do. Children who are biblically saturated are salt and light. Bible exists for the glory of God.

I teach them literature--lots of different stories, biographies, missionary stories, fantasies, etc. Much of this is secular in nature. Why is this important? Because they need to be able to filter everything through the lens of scripture. We take the books that don't mention God, and point out God's absence in the book. This is so crucial God is absent in our culture. This is one of the major sins of Romans 1--they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer. He is simply pushed aside from virtually all television, radio, movies, books, cartoons, children's books, our schools, the work place--He is absent. And this is horrifying and God-belittling and is the epitome of sin. But most people hardly realize it. I want my children to see it and thereby be inoculated against it. I want them to acknowledge God. So, we look at God's absence and talk about it, and we bring God into it. Take Pippi Longstocking--God is absent in Pippi-Longstocking. I do not want my daughter thinking that it is ever okay to conceive of God being absent anywhere, so we bring scriptural truths to bear on stories about Pippi-Longstocking, for example. Literature exists for God.

The Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus. We are to look at what is not seen. I want to train my children to look at Jesus--all the time. I want to train them to see God, to be passionate for His glory, and to permeate their lives with Christ and His truths. Children who prefer God are salt and light. Children who prefer God are beacons testifying to His glory.

So that is what I am doing to cause my children to be salt and light to a dark world. I want them to be articulate, God-centered, Bible-saturated, Christ-minded, Spirit-led, highly-educated people who are willing to go to the hardest places on earth and lay down their lives for the nations who have not heard. I want them to treasure Christ more than they treasure their own lives, and in doing so bring glory to God as the world looks on and considers Jesus as valuable because they see my children preferring Him over life itself.

And I am pouring out my life to that end--in raising and training the children that God has entrusted to me, for His glory. I will answer to Him for my stewardship of the children He has given me. More than anything I want Him to say, Well done.

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