Philippians 3:8-9

If you’re a parent, what’s your most hoped for ambition for your children? What is it that you really want them to accomplish, gain or achieve in their lives–apart from which nothing else they do will really compensate or matter? Is it a good marriage that stands the test of time, grandchildren who grow up to be upstanding members of society, or a pleasant home in a good area? Is it an advanced education or a successful career? Is it the opportunity to travel the world and see the sights you perhaps never saw yourself? Is it making their mark on the world in some way, or rising to a place of leadership in their communities and spheres of influence? Is it some combination, or none, of the above–as long as they’re happy? Or, is it something altogether different, which will mean so much more to them in light of eternity?

“…that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…” (Philippians‬ ‭3:8-9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

I suspect many of us–even those of us who go to church and try to teach our children to love Jesus–sometimes have wrong goals for them. It isn’t that we shouldn’t prepare them to live their lives in the present world, because they will spend at least a certain number of years here. We should educate them, advise them, nurture and otherwise equip and prepare them for this present age, but as we do so–and even more so–we should equip and prepare them for the future age to come because that is where they will spend eternity! Even as we are instilling in them the importance of good grades and an education, of a hard work ethic and many other practical life skills, we should be impressing upon them the futility of “…[gaining] the whole world, and…[losing]…[their] own soul” (Mark‬ ‭8:36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬). Because that’s what they’re doing if they’re only focusing on success in this life.

We may recognize it intuitively, but what we sometime don’t consciously grasp is that just as we prepare our children for this life, we must also prepare them for the next. Just as we teach them what they need to do to have a happy existence in this world–and hope and pray that at various points along the way to their adult years they pick up the baton and run with it themselves–we must teach them what they need to do to “…receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬)–into the world they will hopefully enter when they breathe their last breath in this one. And just as there are things they must do to have a better physical life now, there are things they can do to have an exponentially better eternity!

The first and most important thing they can do, without which nothing else will matter much, is recognizing the Jesus story is God solving the dilemma of our sins Himself, and believing in Jesus–that we were damned in our sins and could do nothing to save ourselves, so Jesus Christ became a human being and paid the penalty in our place. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) But after they trust in Jesus, that’s not it–there’s more that they need to do to better prepare for their future.

1) They need to actually hang out with Jesus–they need to read their Bible every day, pray on their own, go to church. 2) They need to hang out with others who follow Jesus–not just go for an hour on Sunday mornings, but really get plugged into a local church and get involved with the various things they do throughout the week; they need their friends–their network–to be people who really care about following God, so they’ll have support and good advice when they’re at critical junctures. And, 3) they need to get busy doing their Heavenly Father’s business–they need to figure out what they can do to spread the gospel and further His kingdom, and do it, because that’s what Jesus wants of us in this life! But wait, there’s more!!

While all of these things are integral parts of following Christ and we need to do them–my goal, and my ultimate wish for my children, is that they may “gain Christ, and be found in Him” as they breathe their last–that they would recognize Jesus as the most valuable and priceless Treasure, that they would “…love the LORD…[their] God with all…[their] heart, with all…[their] soul, and with all…[their] mind” (Matthew‬ ‭22:37‬ ‭NKJV‬‬), that they would “know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)–because without this, nothing else will ultimately matter!

Dear Lord,

Above any other human accomplishment, help my children “gain Christ, and be found in Him!” Amen.

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About essentialdailyscriptures

Do you want to grow in your knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but aren’t sure where to start? Essential Daily Scriptures is a ministry for people who want to study God’s Word, but don’t have a lot of time. Each day’s study covers one verse and takes approximately fifteen minutes, incorporating significant amounts of Scripture directly from the NKJV Bible, so you’re able to get right into God’s Word with a minimal time investment on a daily basis. May “the Father of glory…give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:17b)
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