Success. Pushing for that next step on the ladder. Getting the win at all costs. It is the natural way for man - self-realization. With some success comes the desire to reflect it by way of what vehicle is driven or the part of town a home is in. The temptation is to move from meeting the family needs to chasing after ‘wants’, stuff that reflects success.
Success itself is certainly not bad. But when the motivation for success is to keep up a certain lifestyle, kids may learn some unintended lessons – Instead of learning to relate they may learn to manipulate; instead of learning the value of hard work they may see work in a negative light; instead of being motivated to be the best they can be, they may engage in mindless activities, comfortable with all they have.
“As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.’” – Acts 9:3-6. “Through the miracle of redemption, Saul of Tarsus was instantly changed from a strong-willed and forceful Pharisee into a humble and devoted bondservant of the Lord Jesus.” (Oswald Chambers – My Utmost for His Highest, 7/18). Saul was successful by every standard of his day. He knew the Law, he had connections and he got things done. Maybe he had attended the equivalent of every self-motivation, self-affirmation and self-actualization study to get to such a point of self-realization in religious piety. Then Jesus called him into a relationship. Wow! The balance of Paul's life was Christ-realization being passed on to the Gentiles.
The realization is that right priorities need to be established personally, in marriage and in family. The right priorities are: Growing in a personal and passionate relationship with Christ; living that relationship in marriage; and reflecting that relationship in family. Kids will catch what we have be it self-realization that is of this world or Christ-realization to be an influence in the world. Dads and moms that prioritize their relationship with Christ and live that relationship in their marriage, pass on Christ-realization.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for knocking me off my high horse. For too many years I prioritized my understanding of success in this world – the elusive financial security for my family and other ‘wants’ that I classified as ‘needs’. Forgive me. Thank You for the marriage and family You have blessed me with. Guide me in the right priorities to realize You fully in my life, that I embrace the journey You have me on to be more like You today than yesterday, more tomorrow than today. By Your grace, I pray for Christ-realization in my life and marriage that will be passed on to the next generation. Amen.
A faithful father passes on Christ-realization to the next generation.