Recently my wife and I received news that God has blessed us with a baby boy as our firstborn child. The thoughts and emotions have been running wild, and with the revealing of the gender they were provoked to sprint all the more. What will we name him? What will he look like? What kind of personality will he have? What will he be passionate about? What will his talents be? Oh the endless possibilities when a child is brought into this world! Then the thought settles in… God has given my wife and I the responsibility of developing the mind, character, and health of another human being! What a high calling!
Now, it goes without saying that my wife and I have hopes and dreams for our child as any parent would. However, as a Christian living in America, our hopes and dreams may not be similar to the hopes and dreams of other parents. Most parents would hope their children would have a good education, go to a good college, get a good job, marry a good spouse, have a good retirement, and be a good, respectable member of society. However, as a Christian, I can’t help but notice that their hopes tend to taper off from there. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die! As if that was it, as if that was what we were put here on this earth for, and after that… Well, that’s not of consequence. Oh, but it is… It most certainly is!
Now, I’m not saying we don’t share in some of those hopes and dreams for our children. For instance, we want to ensure we will be giving our child the best education we possibly can, but is the reason for that simply material blessing? Do we want our child going to the best college just so he can obtain the best job? Is that a wrong thing to aspire to? If we refuse to remove the word “just,” then yes. It would be teaching our child to be an idolator. The key here would be, what is the end by which a good college education is the means? Is it self-gratification and material indulgence, or is it means upon which to further the gospel and the advancement of the everlasting kingdom of Christ?
There are some hopes that are common, however, that we do not have for our child. We do not desire for our child to be respectable to the great majority of this world…
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” -Luke 6:26
We don’t want our child calculating just how many people will be behind him before he makes a decision or takes a stand.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Gal 1:10
Actually, to the contrary, we hope that our child will suffer for Christ.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” -Mat 5:11
It is our desire that our child would not seek after material things in this world over and against seeking after Christ as his treasure.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” -Luke 12:34
It goes without saying that our highest hope and desire for him is that he comes to know the Living God through Jesus Christ and thus obtains eternal life.
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” -John 17:3
So, are we raising our child to be just an upstanding citizen? No way! It is our desire to raise a ‘troublemaker’. Not in the pugnacious or arrogant variety, but of the completely committed to the authority of God’s word and Lordship of Jesus Christ variety. Someone who has the moral character and intellectual firepower to rock the boat, to challenge the status quo, to turn institutions on their head. Someone who is submissive to authority, yet not intimidated by it. Someone who can be shamed, without being ashamed. Someone who, by the grace of God, will advance the kingdom far beyond any place his parents ever could have.
Why a ‘troublemaker’? Is it so necessary to oppose the world so strongly? Yes, it’s necessary to oppose the world so strongly, because the world opposes the rule of Christ with every fiber of it’s being! Jesus himself said “he who is not with me is against me.” We see that play out in our culture in it’s laws, it’s education, it’s media, it’s philosophy, it’s behavior, and it’s thinking. Why would a regenerated child of God want to do anything but oppose this world?
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” -John 3:19
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” -1 John 2:15
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” -James 4:4
We oppose the world not simply to tell those who are “of the world” that they are wrong for violating God’s law, but because it also gives opportunity to give the reconciling message of the gospel, thereby putting the glory of God on display in the reconciling work of the cross of Christ and offering salvation freely to those who are under the power of Satan. However, when we do this, scripture is clear that we will be opposed, and opposed passionately and sometimes, violently. Scripture is clear that it will cost us to confess (not simply profess) Christ. And we can all rest assured that the more passionately and consistently one stands for righteousness and the gospel, the more hated and despised he will be for introducing light to those who love the darkness.
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” -2 Tim 3:12
There’s something RC Sproul Jr. said in the recent documentary “Babies Are Murdered Here” that provoked me to profound thought. He said that one of the first things he wanted to cultivate in his children was a burning and constant rage at the way things are. Amen! We are bringing a child into this sinful cursed world. A child that will be confronted with evil at every turn, even in his own heart. May God grant this little one a burning rage! A rage against sin when he sees it and it’s consequences in this world, and when he sees it in himself.
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” -Psalm 127:4
Arrows are a weapon. A weapon that is meant to be shot! We won’t be raising this child defensively, forever shielding him from the wickedness of this world. We are going to be raising this child offensively, as a weapon to be shot at the very heart of the wickedness of this world. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, transforming both hearts and cultures.
One of the gimmicks of this blog is that it’s not run by important, or in many cases even respected people, even within the larger Christian community. With no college degree, and a job that’s considered “unskilled labor,” I have nothing to boast about educationally or vocationally. If I have ever been a leader of anything it hasn’t been by man’s designs or intentions. Yet, God in his providence has given me a wife and a child to lead, to nurture, to invest my life into. What greater calling can I aspire to than that? What labor has the potential to reap more for Christ’s kingdom than that? How many men have made shipwreck of their faith, lives, and family because in their ambition they neglect these most important of ministries for the sake of another?
So join me in prayer for the faith of Christian children, and join me in raising up an army of ‘troublemakers’ intent on turning the world on it’s head!
“When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, ‘Is it you, you troubler of Israel?'” -1 Kings 18:17
“And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,'” -Acts 17:6
“The world and its god cannot and will not bear the Word of the true God: and the true God cannot and will not keep silence. While, therefore, these two Gods are at war with each other, what can there be else in the whole world, but tumult?” -Martin Luther (Bondage of The Will)