Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why Cool is Really Lukewarm (or, How to Keep God from Spitting Out Your Kids)

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know them."
-- 1 John 3:1

Does the world know your children? Do they fit in perfectly at school, or on their sports team?

Be careful how well your kids fit in. You say, 'But I want my child to be well-liked.' We all do, but if your child is well-liked for the wrong reasons, he or she will be the wrong kid, the person who conformed for short-term satisfaction. When one starts down that trail, they rarely turn around. The allure of popularity is great.

I'm not saying we want to produce a generation of outcasts.  But, think about it:

Given a choice between outcast and typecast, which type are you trying to produce?

God's children are not to be like other children. Nor are they to be haughty and holier than thou. It's a delicate balance that will feel right some days, so very wrong some days. That can be a roller coaster ride of insecurity for the most surrendered Christ-follower. The key is that their security be found in nothing besides their identity in Christ. With you backing up that message, that is enough!

Being a child of God will cost your children some points on the cool meter. But cool is often merely the enemy's way of being (luke)warm. A cool Christian in a public school is possible depending on the demeanor, gifts and personality of the teen and the culture of the school. But there is no perfect formula, no guarantee. What satisfies your child has to be on a higher plain. Ridicule and disdain shouldn't be desired, but it must be acceptable if it comes for the right reason.

Verses 2-3 give us more clues. "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies Himself, just as He is pure."

The unsaved or carnal Christian child needs to be cool to have identity. The born again child has identity, and is working to discover "what (he) will be"  as he matures into it. He is not trying to be like the cool kids. He is not wearing stripes because the other kids are. (Now, if he is wearing plaids and stripes, please, homeschool!)

Here is what the child who knows his identity, knows Whose he is, is doing: "Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself."

The purification process includes not doing some cool things because a) they are a bad witness, b) they don't need to be cool in the world's eyes because they are sooo cool in God's eyes.

How do you make this work? If I knew that precisely I'd be a gazillionaire author and conference speaker, spitting out the formula to the mass of hurting parents! (Now, that would be cool LOL) We humans keep messing this up. But here's the deal: it comes down to them knowing who they are, and that comes down to you introducing them to Christ, leading them to salvation, and unpacking for them what the Word of God says about their identity.

That's a lot of hard work. I know, Judy and I are speaking it daily to two teens and a pre-teen. But it's worth it. Sometimes it's cool to see your kids be uncool.

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