Should we teach our kids to ‘grow’ the fruits of the Spirit?

out-in-the-fall-3_21264535This is a question that I’ve given some thought to, but am yet to come up with an answer for.

As Christian parents (I’m not one, but they do say it takes a village to raise a child) it is our responsibility to raise our children with moral values and a fear of the Lord. Few would dispute that, but how far do we take it?

As a child, I learnt all about the fruits of the Spirit. There were diagrams and songs and colouring in sheets; juicy apples and pears and bananas all with a word attached: love, joy, peace…

These were all character traits that we knew we were to cultivate, but as an adult I can’t help wondering… have we missed the point?

Are fruits of the Spirit things that can be taught, or are they traits that grow in us purely as a result of the Spirit?

If we teach our children to exhibit these things, are we wisely training them in the way they should go, or are we creating little people who know how to look good on the outside, but whose hearts have not been changed?

Is it our moral responsibility to reward them for ‘Spirit filled’ behaviour and discipline them for ‘fleshly behaviour,’ or should we be focusing on teaching them the Gospel and letting the Spirit grow this fruit?

I’m really not sure. What are your thoughts?

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Do you keep promises to yourself?

little-boy-on-bike_19-129712

We all love people we can trust. As a kid, I could always trust my dad to keep his promises. He’d even keep promises he hadn’t officially made. Sometimes in the morning, we’d ask him, “Dad, can we go for a bike ride tonight when you get home from work?” He’d inevitably respond with some variant of “We’ll see” but more often than not, when he got home, he’d tell mum “I promised the kids I’d go bike riding with them tonight.”

Things like that have a lasting impact on kids. You respect people whom you can trust. But can you trust yourself?

I was talking to my class this week about goal setting. It is often the case that in order to get to where you want to be in life, you have to have a plan. But more important than having a plan, is having the ability to stick to it.

I asked the students: If you promise yourself that you’re going to do something, do you actually do it?

Making promises to myself is something that I take pretty seriously. It’s hard to respect a person who doesn’t deliver on their word, so how can we have self-respect if we’re constantly letting ourselves ‘off the hook’ when we’ve previously determined to do something?

If you want to be a trustworthy person, you’ve got to keep your promises, and not just those you make to other people. If you tell yourself you’re going to do something, do it!

Money: When the Empty Cup Runneth Over

I know it’s not considered polite to talk about money. But I’m not entirely a stranger to the art of openly talking about social taboos, so today’s blog is about money.

I was talking last night to a friend about that amazing paradox that she and I and many others have experienced: that the more you give to God, the more you seem to have.

SAMSUNG TECHWIN DIGIMAX-340I’m not talking in some form of spiritual metaphorical jargon. I have actually personally experienced that sense of confusion on realizing that the numbers just don’t seem to add up. That there must be more money going out than coming in, and yet, somehow, my cup runneth over.

One of the best lessons that my parents taught me from a young age was to give first to the Lord. Not first when I think of it, or when I can afford it, or when I ‘feel led,’ but first every time. First when I can’t afford it. First when it means sacrifice.

I do not give in order to receive. I give as a reflection that God comes first in my life. And yet the amazing paradox is that somehow, the more I give, the more I seem to have. And I know it’s not just me.

 

Halloween and the Australian Christian’s Dilemma

pumpkinThe commercialization of Halloween is gradually sucking Australians into a celebration we once considered to be purely ‘American.’

While many Australians may be willing to embrace this trend, the question must arise concerning the stance of the Christian. Just last week someone came to me asking my advice on what should be done regarding a teenage girl’s invitation to a Halloween party.

Of course each person must follow the convicting of the Spirit in their own hearts, but as the body of Christ, I truly believe that there are some things we should stand against as a community.

Having spoken to several teenagers in the past who have had terrifying experiences delving into the occult, it seems clear to me that as Christians we must be careful not to align ourselves with a festival which, despite its supposed ‘Christian’ roots, has become known for its associations with witchcraft, death, spirits and horror.

So what is a teenager to do, when it will not be well received by their friends if they do not participate? My heart aches for them; I remember how painful it was to make choices that were unpopular. But as Christians we were never called to do what was popular; we are called to be different, even when it means sacrifice. The greatest thing we can do for our children is to teach them how to make a stand while they are young, so that when they are older, the narrow road is not foreign to them.

Sometimes it’s a baby… sometimes it’s just tissue.

Life at 12 weeks

Life at 12 weeks

I was shocked to read this article about John Andrew Weldon who has been charged this week with first degree murder for allegedly tricking his girlfriend into taking an abortive pill when he found out that she was pregnant.

I am shocked not so much by what he did (which is truly horrifying) but by the blatant inconsistency between what is classified as ‘pre-meditated murder’ and what is classified as ‘abortive removal of embryonic tissue.’

When a woman becomes pregnant and wants to keep it, it becomes, in the eyes of the law, a human being who has the protection of the law against any third party who would do it any harm.

When a woman becomes pregnant and doesn’t want to keep it, it is merely a collection of cells that can be disposed of by a common and legal ‘procedure.’

Since when does the definition of life or humanity depend on whether the woman carrying it wants it to be there or not?