Friday, March 24, 2017

Do You Want Jesus to Live in Your Heart?

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

"Do you want Jesus to live in your heart?" I asked my son, who was just about kindergarten age. The fear and horror that crossed his little face was a dead giveaway that I had made a serious parental error. Although it sounds like a simple question from a Bible-believing parent, I should have known already that as a child on the autism spectrum, he was a very concrete learner. I've been told that children who are extreme concrete learners have trouble picturing God as real at all because they cannot see, feel, touch, or hold Him. While I was imagining a growing relationship with our Savior, my little boy was picturing a tiny man taking up residence in his little body. I guess we all imagine God a little bit differently, don't we?

How do you see God? And how do you think God sees you? I've been told that we see God and His views of us in the same way that we see our earthly parents and their views of us. So if our parents were very strict, reigning control tightly over us, we'll probably see God as foreboding, strict, filled with disapprobation for our earthly misdeeds. If our parents were distant, we might think God is out there, somewhere, doing something or other and not really paying attention to anything that is happening in our lives. If our parents were loving, we might see God as loving, benevolent, kind. And if our parents were mean-spirited, we might really feel that God doesn't like us one bit and there is absolutely nothing we can do to please Him or make Him happy.

I don't know if that line of thinking always holds true, but the truth, the reality is that God delights in us! He loves to be with us, to enjoy our company, and to calm our fears. And you can be absolutely assured that no matter what your parents thought of you, God absolutely delights in you. Hopefully, the more time you spend reading the Bible, praying, growing your relationship with Him, the more you will see and feel His unending love for you. We need to know this love, we need to let it penetrate to the core of our soul so that we can pass it on to our much-loved children.

As parents, how do we portray God's love to our children? Are we passing on the views of God we learned through the relationship we had or have with our parents? Are we working to spread His hope, love, and grace to our own little ones?  Are we comprehending that God delights in us, dwells with us, enjoys us, and are we passing that understanding of His delight in our littles ones on to those we love best?

As a mom, I soon figured out where my little one needed to meet Jesus. I loaded up his iPad with some apps that tell the story of Jesus in a way that little ears can hear and little eyes can see. And now, instead of picturing God as an invasive little man, He sees God as His friend, Creator, and someone who loves and is pleased with him, just as he is. He knows that God delights in him.

Dear God, Help me to see You as the amazing, loving, caring, Creator God that You are truly are. And help me to pass that image of You in a gentle and loving way to my own children.

Amen

Amanda Furbeck

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