Family: Establishing hearts and minds

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When a believer has a Christian worldview, they perceive everything through their knowledge of God, who is the creator of everything we see around us, and who controls every event which happens to us. A Christian worldview is how we believe everything fits together and works under the sovereignty of God, it is also the structure by which hearts and minds are established. The Christian worldview, like God’s law, will be applied when our knowledge of God and love for Him is an active part of our everyday life. The Christian family must live within the boundaries provided by a Christian worldview which is arrived at through the study of God’s Word. An established heart and mind is when the voice of God breaks in and where we love what we hear.

Learning to see

Parents and children will make decisions every day and both have a knowledge base which they will work from when they make decisions. But not every decision is the result of what we know, it can often be as a result of what we feel, and this is why the minds and hearts of our children are to be established in God. Imagine the following conversation between two people regarding the universe. One believes in God who created everything and the other does not, will they arrive at different conclusions because of what they believe before they even begin to study the universe, of course. We all need knowledge which can influence our understanding and our interpretations of the world around us. Think about how we need a ruler as the governing influence and the knowledge it provides when we look at the famous Shephard’s table. This illusion provides an example of how our eyes can deceive us, yet when we apply the ruler to both we find that these two tables which look different are in fact the same table from different perspectives. The important point to learn from all this is that, when our eyes deceive us, a standard can be applied so that we can understand what is actually true. This is how a Christian worldview works, it establishes the hearts and minds of both parents and children.

Crowds

Establishing the hearts and minds of our children will happen when the counsel of the Lord is delighted in, the wisdom which is able to make one wise. The reason why love for God is so important is because of how it establishes a commitment from us to the Lord even when we don’t understand the present circumstances. To illustrate this, let’s imagine 30 children in a room where a question is asked and where each corner represents an answer with only one being correct. As the question is asked, we can observe those who know the answer, those who guess, those who don’t know and follow friends and those who know better but their friends have gone to a different corner so the child who knows better goes as well. Given that the question only has one right answer, we can understand why children who don’t know the answers have gone to different corners, however, when we follow others because we don’t know, we can’t know if those who we are following know either but because of friendships, we could easily go with what our friends choose. When the friendship is tight, this can even cause a child to go against what they know to be true and is so led into error. You cannot work out how important Jesus is by how many people decide to follow Him, rather we learn how important He is through His Word.

The influence of crowds can be seen in those seeking to stone the woman caught in adultery. After Jesus writes in the sand twice and after he says “let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7), it goes on to say that when they heard this “…they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones…”. We could believe this to be an orderly dispersal of people upon hearing the words of Jesus or that moral guilt sharpens with age and the younger ones are simply following.

When we seek to establish the hearts and minds of our children we are seeking to establish them in such a way where they can stand on what they know to be true and their love for God. Children may not follow one friend, they may not follow two but they might follow three. The one who belongs to God needs to be able to stand with God, and this can be tested as it was with Daniel who was brought in to Babylon, and for us as we are surrounded by ungodly influences. Daniel would have been a teenager at the time (Daniel 1:4), demonstrating that it is possible to live a faithful life when you are surrounded by pagan influences (Daniel ch1).

The courtroom of human opinions

Paul found himself in a courtroom of human opinions but considered it a very small thing to be judged by others (1 Cor 4:3). He didn’t even judge himself, he wasn’t aware of anything against himself but he also understood that this didn’t make him innocent before God. He argues that since it is the Lord who judges him, he will not pronounce judgement before time on others or himself. This will happen when the Lord comes, for He will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.

An established heart and mind in God is where the person in question considers the judgements of others as a small thing, something not worth consideration. The parents will not seek to instil in their children the belief “that it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks, it only matters what you think about yourself”, because as we learn Paul doesn’t even judge himself. The heart is deceitful above all things, just imagine the lies we could tell ourselves and believe. Rather he considers his life in the light of God’s accurate judgement. This is a heart and mind established in the knowledge of God and one of which demonstrates love.

Depending on God

It’s important for all members of the family to depend on God and therefore it is important for parents to teach their children what it means to depend on God. Therefore, it is important for parents to teach their children how to establish their hearts and minds in God and we can know when this is happening, its when they seek God’s approval, its when they can stand on their own if it is required, its when they understand that the revelation of God and His Word is the rule by which all things are to be judged before any decisions are made.

As parents desire that their children will come to love and understand the standards of God because they understand that love and understanding increases one’s commitment to God and His word. It will be important for the whole family to see through deceptions. For instance, establishing rule after rule will only cause an increased desire to break them, even God’s law cannot create obedience, whereas love for God and His law will, therefore spending time learning what the Christian worldview is will lead those committed to this endeavour, to be faithful to God

 

By Daniel Ralph

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