Family Vision — Holiness

We desire for our family and our children to pursue holiness and purity. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says
15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.””
How do we teach holy behavior in our families? First we have to define the word holy and what it means for us as believers. One definition of holy is to be “dedicated or devoted to the service of God” we are “set apart” for God when we are holy.
As believers we are to be different from the world around us. Often times the question  asked by those in the world and even in the church is “What can I still get away with and be a Christian?” rather than “How holy can I be?”
Romans 12: 1-2 says “1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
It’s not only about our behavior though, it’s about what is in our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 reminds us that we are to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”. If our hearts are either pure or corrupt, so will the rest of our lives be as well.
We try to teach our sons to guard their eyes and their hearts at all times. We work to contrast the Biblical standard with the worlds standard for living. What God says vs what the world says. An example would be for dress. Even though we haven’t been blessed with daughters, we teach our boys what is acceptable dress for both men and women. We have a code word in our family that anyone can say when there is something inappropriate in the line of sight. Someone can call out “Nike” (which means victory in Greek) and we will all look at our shoes or avert our eyes. When the coast is clear someone will say “all clear”.
I can’t tell you how often as a mother I have been thankful we’ve taught our young boys this practice. Whether it be a magazine cover (I wish they had isles in the store without magazines in them) or a girl walking down the street with immodest clothing on, I have been thankful that we are able to teach our boys to guard their eyes and their hearts. We don’t use it to judge those around us, but to set ourselves apart from the world. What the world sees as acceptable and right is not in line with God’s standard.
We carefully screen the videos, games and other media that comes into our home. I have been disappointed at how much is snuck into games or TV programs that doesn’t align with God’s word while still being seemingly “innocent”. An example would be a popular TV show on public television. It depicts a young girl as a super hero. It’s educational, it’s engaging, but she lies to her parents. Or a movie that doesn’t have profanity or nudity, but a character uses God’s name in vain. A movie our family recently watched was based on a popular children’s book. In the opening minutes it depicts a sister and brother fighting, a mother engaging in an extramarital affair and a young boy being disobedient and disrespectful to his mother. Out the movie went and into the trash. We talked with our boys about how, while we enjoy the children’s book, the movie contradicts the biblical standard God has for our family.
Philippians 4:8 is a verse we have memorized and have hanging in our kitchen to remind us “8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
Being holy and pure before God isn’t about comparing ourselves and elevating ourselves above those around us with our pious behavior. It’s about living in such a way that we are different in thought, in word, and in deed from the world that contradicts biblical teaching. Being holy and pure is about being striving to be more like the God to whom we belong.
Read my other family vision posts here


Delighting in our children seems so counter-intuitive in the world today. I was reminded this week about just how foreign that concept seems to those around us. I had to take the boys to the doctor on Monday for a routine check up. I was stopped by a lady in the elevator and our conversation went something like this…
Her: “Are they all yours?”
Me: “Yes they are!” (I really wanted to roll my eyes and say duh!)
Her: “Why aren’t they in school?” (She was pointing at my older 2)
Me: “We homeschool them”
Her: “I could never do that! My kids drive me nuts and I only have 2!”
Me: “We really enjoy it! It gives us a great chance to spend time with them and learn together as a family.” (My older boys shake their heads in agreement and I can tell she’s a little uncomfortable by the thought of being home with her children all day)
Her: “I don’t know how you do it, especially with 4 boys! Your house must be nuts!”
Me: “Oh I love it! I was totally made to be a mom to boys! They’re so much fun and there is always something going on!” (In my mind I’m thinking okay seriously lady…how many times are you going to insult me before we get to the second floor?)
The elevator dings and we’re on our floor (Thank goodness!)
Her: “Good luck! I would never bring all those kids to the doctor by myself! That’s just asking for trouble.”
Me: “Thanks! I’m sure we’ll have a great day! I’m looking forward to it. Enjoy your day!”

It wasn’t so much that this lady said something negative about a number of things that I believe in strongly, but I felt bad for her and her children. The joy she is missing out on by choosing not to delight in her children! Children are such a blessing and a joy to behold. We are so fortunate to have the children that we do. I think my perspective has changed a bit since Knox was born, but I have always delighted in our boys.
It’s not always easy. But my heart breaks for children who’s parents don’t delight in them.  It’s not enough to just tolerate them or their noise and messes. We should be finding joy in spending time with them, in being with them and in who they are.
How are we to delight in our children? First I would say we have look at why we should delight in then. In Psalm 127:3-5
3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.”
The Lord clearly calls children a gift. How blessed are we whose quiver is full of children (That’s why my blog name is Fillingquiver! We hope for the blessings only God can give)!

Our Quiver

So how do we delight in our children?
One way that we can show we delight in our children is to disciple them. In our family we do this by homeschooling our boys and taking time to show them the ways of the Lord and to teach God’s principles to them daily.
Another way you can show delight in your children is to model for them the character traits you’re teaching them and you’d like to see them develop. Titus 2: 7-8 says “7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” We do a lot of talking in our house about character traits, we memorize them, we talk about developing them and we expect them, but do WE (as parents) model them for our children. Remember, children will do what you do and not what you say. They learn by your example.
Do you discipline your children out of love for them and not out of your own anger or embarrassment? Proverbs 3:12 says “12 For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” We should discipline our children, but it shouldn’t be done out of anger or embarrassment because it reflected poorly on us. It should be because we want better for them, we want them to be obedient to GOD and because we love them.
When your children ask you to if they can “help” do something with you or if they ask if they can come along with you on an errand do you turn them away because it will take more time or do you gladly welcome their company and the opportunity for training? Delighting in our children means that we’re willing to take the extra time it means to train them or that we’re willing to spend time with them even if it might slow us down. Use the time you spend with them to disciple them, to search their heart, to learn to know your child. Even Jesus welcomed children unto Himself when the disciples and society would have turned them away. Matthew 19:14 “14 But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Children desire to be with their parents when they’re little. You are the person your child looks up to most when they’re young, but even a child gets tired of being rebuffed time and again. Parents will lose their children’s hearts when they don’t delight in their children. Their children’s hearts turn towards those who are willing to give them time and attention, unfortunately in today’s society sometimes that means TV, video games, gangs and other poor influences on our children.
It’s too bad that so many times the gifts that God has given us in children are seen as burdens, punishments for bad decisions and inconveniences to our lives. While being a parent requires self sacrifice the gift of a child is so worth it. Philippians 2:3 says “3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves”
We should be seeking every opportunity to win and keep the hearts of our children. The first step in doing so is to delight in them. And make sure they know that we are delighting in them. We do it by wanting and seeking to spend time with them on a daily basis, by raising them in the nuture and admonition of the Lord and by LOVING them for the gifts that they are.

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