Sunday, March 16, 2008

How Can We Help Them Learn To Love Him?

The other night, my bride of 34 years having fallen asleep out of exhaustion before I was able to do all the locking up and turning off that is the final approach to sleep, I did something out of my forever love for her. I talked to our son about what it means to be married to your one true love.

About what it means to be in a relationship with her where we both love God and each other fiercely.

About how that love and trust has empowered me to do things for God and for my family that I know I could never, ever have done without it.

And how I pray every day as does his mother that God will bless him in the same way with a wife who will help him become more with God's help than he could otherwise have ever been.

Don't know why, exactly, except that I felt and she felt like he was unable or unwilling to understand that love and what actions result from it. He's a great son, fine young man, very bright, and on the cusp of an awesome life. But at 24, he's never experienced what I have beginning at age 20 to this very day.

Unconditional love from someone (other than his parents) totally sold out to him.

So we talked, and he listened. I know he won't understand fully until it happens. But he's been prepped to know what it looks like through 24 years of action and reaction between his parents, and now I've tried to put some framework around it.

In the last few months, I have done some real soul work on who God created me to be and how He has used me, particularly here at New Hope. I've looked hard at my successes and harder at my failures. And I'm learning. And I'm growing. More dependent on God. More confident in Him. And more dissatisfied with where we are.

The information superhighway of the typical Baptist church - those data dumps we often call Sunday School, Wednesday night Bible study, even the sermon - just don't seem to be producing people who love Jesus and live out of that love for Him. We have educated a group of people in the doctrines, added some background context, and even trained them on how to follow.

But only a few do.

Some live their lives in sort of a moral no man's land, using Christianity to avoid the mines. Some live using Christianity as a veneer masking their sins. Some just show up and endure, then go home.

How can we teach them in such a way that they learn to love Jesus?

Once that happens, then transformational discipleship can begin.

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