This article is the next in a monthly series that will examine the theme for this year’s upcoming conference, . As we experience the pains of a perishing, defiled, and fading world, our hope can feel distant or idle. Yet, in Christ, we are born again to a hope that is both living and active. We no longer have to count our trials as foes, but can rejoice in a hope which does not put us to shame, knowing it is offering us a gift more precious than gold — a tried and true faith. As we survey 1 Peter together, our prayer is that we would have renewed eyes to see that which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us by our living hope!
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“I am going huff and puff and blow your house down!” the wolf cries out to the three little pigs. As the famous children’s story goes, each pig chose a different material to build their homes: one with straw, one with sticks, and the other with bricks. The moral of the story is that the house built with the bricks withstood the wolf’s efforts, protecting the pigs from becoming bacon.
Our personal choices in our physical living quarters are no different than those of three little pigs. The materials our homes are made of determine how they will stand up against damage from storms, earthquakes, fire, intruders, and any other events which test the internal and external structure of our homes. The way our homes are constructed will predict how they face the consequences of the wear and tear of time and events.
What about our spiritual homes? Our spirits, souls, and bodies require the same attention to detail to stand strong against the devil’s schemes. The personal choices we make will either make our spiritual foundations stronger or weaker. In our weakness we become more susceptible to our sinful natures, causing us to stumble in our parenting.
“As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:4-5)
When we claim Jesus as our savior, confess our sins, and believe Jesus rose to be at the right hand of God, our bodies become spiritual houses which God will continually reinforce. Jesus becomes the cornerstone of that spiritual house, the foundation which our life with God is built on. Peter tells us we are living stones and our actions should be acceptable to God- and they are made so through Jesus (v.5). God calls us to take great care of our temple and “not to conform to evil desires” (1 Pet. 1:14). It is important our spiritual house is strong, built on godly wisdom, so we can teach our children to make similar spiritual sacrifices.
Our parenting choices must first start with our own spirit, soul, and body leaning on the cornerstone, Jesus Christ. We must be in check with our own spiritual relationship and actions according to God’s Word. When we place our faith in Jesus we are a “royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1Pt 2:9) We are called to purge ourselves of all “malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (1 Pet. 2:1). I don’t know about you, but that is a tall order.
While we have lots of peaks and valleys we face as parents, the good news is we have Jesus as our cornerstone. He justifies us before God. Without Jesus, we would not have peace with God, forgiveness of our sins, the Holy Spirit living inside us, or the promise of living eternally with God in heaven. Jesus makes us strong. He is the cornerstone that makes us able to face the realities of living in this world and to be the parents he calls us to be.
Apart from the cornerstone, Jesus, we don’t have a spiritual foundation. It is because of Jesus’ sacrifice we can have peace with God. When we believe God laid the “stone in Zion” we will “never be put to shame”(1 Pet. 2:6) As parents, we follow Christ and lead our children in the way of God’s truth. This requires us to take a hard look at our own spiritual foundation. Because our faith is in Jesus we are called to a different standard. Our personal and parenting decisions should exemplify a humble spirit, kindness, love, patience, joy, peace, gentleness, and self-control. Our words and actions should show “sincere brotherly love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Pet 2:22).
We will not be made perfect until we get to heaven, but by grace God sanctifies us day by day. When we fall short, we confess our sin and repent, praying our actions will better reflect God’s glory. God will continually strengthen our spiritual house against the schemes of the devil. Our goal is to not look like the world, but to glorify God. Through our teaching and by our example, our children will learn how to build their spiritual houses in Jesus.
In our walk as parents, God first calls us to build our spiritual homes on solid biblical ground to best equip us to teach our children. We must lean into time with God in prayer, worship, and reading our Bible to ensure our actions are matching God’s Word, and to rest in His forgiveness when we fall short. It is in this time of relying on God that he will change our hearts thus changing our actions. Because of what our cornerstone Jesus has done for us, God will continue to sanctify us so that our spiritual house will be made strong enough to handle the huffs and puffs of our world. God will use us to draw our children unto himself as we equip them to build their own strong spiritual houses.