As a parent, I long for my children to embrace Biblical values. My values. I even pray they’ll become inseparably grafted into their DNA. Good things. God-things.
That they’ll be drawn to the right kind of friends.
That they’ll do well in school.
That they’ll have wisdom to make good decisions.
That they’ll connect to the local church.
That they’ll be smart with their money.
That they’ll discover their God-given gifts and an expression for them.
That they’ll find a God-fearing spouse.
That they’ll save sex for marriage.
That they’ll stay away from drugs and never abuse alcohol.
That they’ll learn to talk to God and gain regular insight from the Bible.
That they’ll love Jesus.
As strange as this may sound, I think it’s possible to become everything on the list above and completely miss becoming true followers of Jesus Christ. Yep. Really.
I even believe it’s possible to “love Jesus” without truly following Him. We see it throughout Scripture. Crowds surrounding Him. Pressing in on all sides in ways that would make the Jonas Brothers jealous.
For inspiration. For healing. For food. With needs (and some very legitimate). With hopes that Jesus would come alongside the picture they had painted for their lives and give it a boost, fill in the gaps, create some magic. They loved Him (at least in their understanding of what it meant to love).
But few followed. Really followed. It just cost too much.
So if I really want what’s best for my kids, I think I it might be time to change my prayers to different things. More difficult things.
That God would crush them.
That pain would refine them.
That they would dream God’s dreams and not just an American one.
That they would be willing to give up everything to follow Jesus.
That they would completely die to themselves in order to find true life in Christ.
That they will be alive and not just “good.”
Scary stuff. Radical. Dangerous. A loss of control. Counter-culture, even within the church (maybe especially within the church).
But longings I need to pursue, and not just for my children, but for myself as well. Maybe you do, too?
Because it’s all too possible to embrace Biblical values from the outside-in, without ever truly becoming a follower of Jesus Christ from the inside-out. To embody, or retrain behavior, without ever truly submitting the will. To be “good,” without ever truly being alive.
For the record, I still long for that first list. I just want it to grow through the soil of the second. Never at the expense of it.
So what do you think? Is it possible to embrace the values of the Bible and completely miss Jesus in the process?