Often our children would question, “Why can’t we do what other kids get to do?” “Why isn’t our family like other families? They let their kids watch ________ or go to ______, etc.” And this was before parents were getting their 11 year olds SmartPhones and Facebook and Twitter accounts. I can’t imagine what pressure you as parents put up with today.
I never played the “Because your preacher’s kids” card. I didn’t want them to resent the church. Most of the time I said, “We are Barneses and we don’t do those things.” Fortunately, none of my siblings lived anywhere close by or that wouldn’t have worked at all. The bottom line was, we were redeemed and redeemed people don’t live that way.
I was reminded about this in church. In going through Ephsesians, we are reminded that we are “saints”, a people set apart for God’s own purposes. The apostle also wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
We are a part of a blood-bought community. We are not our own. Therefore, our values are different, our choices will be different, and our thinking is to be different. Even when we are engaged in similar activities as others, our underlying motives and purposes are different.
We live to display the glory of God and to share the good news of God. We yearn for others to know that Jesus loves them so thoroughly that He gave His life to wash away their sins and redeem their lives from futility and darkness into purpose, joy and light.
In Ephesians 2:19-22, God tells us we have a new identity as His people and His family and we are being formed together into His temple on earth. Speaking to believers in a town with magnificent temples to pagan gods (one even ranking among the seven wonders of the earth), God points out that they were His visible representation, a dwelling for the Spirit of God on earth.
That is us! That is why we don’t indulge in what the world does. We are trying to avoid anything that obscures the glory of God or defiles our Savior and His reputation through us.
Jesus prayed in John 17:17 — Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth. Jesus had declared that His disciples were in the world, but not of the world. Therefore, He asked God to set them apart in the truth. We can do this every day with our own children. As we bathe them with the water of the Word, these words begin to seep into their consciousness and even subconscious. Their minds are renewed and it helps them not to be conformed to this world. (Romans 12:2)
May God bless you as you seek to live as a blood-bought family and you seek to help your children live set apart lives, as you also strive to do the same, Christopher