I am a very fortunate grandmother. All four of my grandchildren are saved. In fact, when my last grandson asked Christ into his heart, I felt like I had been given the greatest gift of all; the gift of knowing that no matter what happened to my grandchildren in this life, that each of my grandchildren would someday reside in Heaven with Christ and His Heavenly Father. Then I realized that although they were assured of going to Heaven, that they still had to live in this earthly world till God called them home. That means that they need to learn how to live as earth angels, i.e., they need to learn how to live for Christ and how to help others when they have a need. But it isn’t easy to live righteously in a world that does everything it can to keep our children, teenagers, and young adults from living for Christ and from being earth angels.
To make matters worse, our children and grandchildren, or all our teenagers, are now living at a time in their lives when confusion and insecurity are part of their everyday lives. In fact, all four of my grandchildren are teenagers who are being pulled in different directions by society and by their peers even as their hearts are telling them to listen to the Holy Spirit and do what is right. Moreover, they have to daily make decisions that could either ruin their lives or make decisions that could help them keep on the straight and narrow. Obviously, they need help in making those decisions, but instead of asking us for help, they often rely on their peers and their emotional feelings to make decisions, which often leads them into making bad or questionable decisions.
As parents, we have already probably tried to give our children a good foundation on which to live and to make decisions. But, they are at an age when they feel that they should make all their own decisions. Unfortunately, they are often pulled away from their previous home and childhood teachings by their peers and the society in which we all live. So, they need all the support they can get in order to make good decisions. This means that they need to continue to trust their parents, but their friends or peers don’t trust anyone so why should they. To make matters worse, they see the world through a daily onslaught of emotions that can either be positive or negative depending on the day and the situation. Add to that, their responsibility for attaining good grades, which will hopefully get them into college, while constantly living in a pressure cooker world that can sometime try to blow its top, and these adolescents can find themselves drifting away from the truth and what is right. Furthermore, if asked about being an earth angel most of them would look at you as if you have lost your mind.
So, what advice can I give to my “saved” grandchildren about living the right way? How can they outwardly live their new “born-again” life for Christ so they can represent Christ to the world and allow others to see Christ in them? How do they become earth angels who represent Christ and help others come to know Him as well? Surely, there is information to be found within the pages of the Bible on living a happy productive life while doing what is right and true and working for the Lord, along with information or advice on how to share their faith with others and on how to help others who are struggling as well?
Indeed, the Bible does have all the needed information and advice within its pages. Moreover, there is information and advice on walking righteously through this earthly life and living for the Lord, all within the pages of the Bible. But, each person has to pick up the Bible and read it to find answers, information and advice. In fact, not only does the Bible tell us how we can receive eternal life, but it also tells and shows us how God expects us to live until He calls us home to be with Him. In other words, God has given us the information and advice we need about how to share our faith and about how to live daily for Him; all found within the pages of the Bible. We just have to open the pages of the Bible to read the information that God has given to us. We also have to actively show our children and grandchildren that daily opening the Bible and reading God’s Word is something that they, too, can do.
Last week in my blog, I told you that God will not ask us to do something, i.e. a service such as witnessing or mentoring, unless He has already prepared us to be able to do whatever He has asked. This means that God prepares each of us to do what we were created to do for the Kingdom of God. So, we can be assured that God will not throw us back into the secular world after we are Saved without first telling us how we are to live for Him and how we are to share the Gospel message with others. So, let’s look at just as few of the passages or Scriptures that God has given us to help us to live for Him and to be able to give Him the glory. Let’s start by looking at a passage about “Our Christian Walk” which can be found in the book of Ephesians, chapter four.
Our Christian Walk
In mentoring the Ephesians about the gift of Salvation and about them being the living examples that Christians are to be to the world, the Apostle Paul enumerated several attitudes and behaviors that “born-again” Christians should either engage in or not engage in. Certainly, Paul wanted the Ephesians to know what the Christian walk was all about. So, one of the first things that Paul said was: “… (I) implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” – (Ephesians 4: 1. NASB). This particular Scripture or passage means that Christians have been called through their Salvation to represent Christ to others here on earth. To represent Christ, though, we have to walk in a worthy manner. In other words, Christians need to walk in a way that honors both God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It also means that we are to walk in a way that pleases God. At the same time, we are to live both inwardly and outwardly in such a manner that others will understand what it means to live for God. Moreover, we are to be an example of good honest Christian living that not only shows our love of God and others, but that will show our desire to glorify God through our lifestyle, actions, and words.
“Walking in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called”, is one of the hardest things that adults, let alone teenagers, will ever attempt to do. Why is it so hard to walk in a worthy manner for the Lord? Well, peer pressure, i.e., trying to fit into a world that does not recognize Christ as Lord while remaining true to Christ is hard to do. Christians will also face many trials or problems that will arise along the way. Add to that, having to deal with the emotional turmoil that both adults and teenagers will face each day and we discover Christians succumbing to things that they know they shouldn’t do. These things also can tempt Christians to act inappropriately or in an un – “Christ-like” way. So, how do we help not only ourselves, but also help our Saved children and our grandchildren to maintain their focus on walking for the Lord?
Setting examples and applying the Word of God to our lives
One of the first things that parents and grandparents need to do to help their children and grandchildren maintain their focus on living for Christ is to set a prominent example of reading the Bible daily. In fact, reading the Bible and meditating on God’s Word is the first step in walking for the Lord. We have to be a good example of what God wants us to do. Then, we have to apply the Word of God to our lives, which is the next step of living for Christ and of allowing our children and grandchildren to see us living for Him. For example, whether you are a teenager or an adult, God tells each of us to be kind to others even when the other person may have a snarky attitude. In other words, the Bible tells Christians that we need to be kind to others. Moreover, as Christian parents, we have to be that Christ-loving example for our children by not being snarky or hateful to them or anyone else for that matter. Just as importantly, parents and grandparents also cannot accept a snarky or hateful attitude from their children. Instead, if the children or teenagers “back talk” or have a hateful or snarky attitude, they need to be asked to re-read certain passages in the Bible that specifically deal with that particular type of attitude or negative words that they are expressing. Certainly, parents and grandparents cannot just ignore these non-Christian or worldly attitudes and behaviors. However, we all understand that it takes time and effort on both the parents and grandparents’ part to correct our children, which are a precious gift from God, but if we want our children to understand fully what God wants them to do, we have to follow through in correcting and disciplining them.
Another example of applying God’s Word to our lives is found within our relationship to gossip. For God tells us through His Word, and the Holy Spirit reminds us, that we are not to gossip or repeat information that could hurt another. Parents and grandparents need to set a good example of keeping our mouths shut when there are opportunities to gossip. Although we may think that we are not gossiping, it is amazing what our children overhear us saying about others. To their ears, it is gossip especially if they can now repeat it to their friends as well. Furthermore, by gossiping we have just been a negative example for them. Actually, this is a case of both negative active and passive mentoring whether we realize it or not.
The book of Proverbs has several verses on the pitfalls of gossip such as Proverbs 11:13, 16:28, 18:8 and 26:20. But the Apostle Paul especially enumerates the un-Christian action of gossiping when he spoke to the Corinthians in a letter that he wrote to them about some of their specific sins. The Apostle Paul wanted to come and visit them again, but he told them in this letter that “… I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, …. I fear that there may be quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. … I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier….” – (II Corinthians 12: 20, 21. NIV).
As Christian parents, we must be careful what we say in front of our children and to other people. But, our mentoring or Christian parental responsibility doesn’t stop at the church doors, but rather continues throughout our daily lives. In fact, Christian parents need their children to see that they are not only unwilling to gossip but that we are also willing to tell others that they will not be a party to gossip either. Obviously, Christians can do that by not only not participating in gossip, but also by just saying up front to others that they don’t want to be pulled into a gossiping conversation. If that is too direct for you, then try changing the subject when gossip is being discussed within a conversation.
Unfortunately gossip goes on everywhere including on Facebook and other websites. So, Christians need to tell others that they are not willing to gossip about their friends and acquaintances whether they are on Facebook, are texting or are just visiting with a group of people. In other words, we need to attempt to shut down all gossip sessions as well. Staying true to the Word of God and walking the Christian walk is not always easy, but it is important. We need not hurt other people through gossip, and we do not want to negatively affect our children’s walk for the Lord either by participating in activities that are un-Christian or by being a negative example for them. Certainly, as Christian mentoring parents, we need to monitor and correct our own Christian walk first. Then we need to monitor and correct or discipline our teenagers when they start gossiping by first taking them back to the Word of God to show them the Scriptures about not gossiping. Next, we need to talk about why gossip hurts others and why God does not want us to gossip. Early correct Christian behavior along with instituting the study of God’s Word will instill in our children the correct way to walk for Christ so that when they become teenagers and are tempted to neglect what they know to be true, they will have a harder time of ignoring and disobeying God’s truth, because they know how a Christian is to behave.
Becoming Active Relational Christian Mentors
There are many other examples of walking in or of living a life that is worthy of our calling and of living a life that expresses our salvation for others to see while at the same time portraying Christian attitudes and behaviors for the world to see. Yet, we often fail to follow through with what we know to be true and good. That is because we often need help in focusing on actually living out God’s truth and instructions. Our help comes from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Staying in the Word of God, i.e. reading the Bible daily, reminds us constantly of how Jesus Christ expects His followers to behave, while listening to the words of the Holy Spirit that can keep us out of trouble. Active relational mentoring Christians can also help other Christians and even our teenagers to focus on living out God’s truth. So, whether you are a parent, grandparent, relative or friend, you can be there for another Christian when they need help by just being willing to mentor someone as you also set the example of a Christian walking for the Lord. The service of Christian mentoring is just one of the many ways that Christians can become earth angels who help other people in need.
As parents and grandparents, we can become earth angels who help our children and grandchildren to focus on living out their commitment to Christ by actively mentoring them whenever the opportunity arises. Mentoring, though, is more than just telling someone that they shouldn’t do something. Mentoring is not meant to be a lecture on correct or bad behavior. Instead, Active Relational Christian Mentoring is interacting with another person in such a way that they are willing to engage you in conversation and fellowship. Active mentoring is listening to the needs of your children or grandchildren or the other person with whom you are talking while setting the appropriate examples of good actions and attitudes for them. Furthermore, Active Relational Christian Mentoring is about coaching another when coaching is needed. It is also about supporting, counseling, and teaching another person within the moment, as well as for longer terms of mentoring. Active Relational Christian Mentoring is even about being an accountability partner or about being willing to sponsor another woman whenever you can.
Certainly, Active Relational Christian Mentoring also applies to our teenagers whether you are their parent or not. By our personal mentoring examples, we can teach our children and teenagers how they, too, can become Active relational Christian mentors to their peers and friends. Obviously, as Christians, we must reach out to our fellow Christians, whatever their age, in order to help them walk in a manner worthy of the calling for which they have been called.
Being Obedient to the Lord
Continuing on with the fourth chapter of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul lays down several behaviors and attitudes that born-again Christians are either to avoid or embrace. Early on in this particular chapter, Paul tells us that Christians are to be obedient to the Lord. It is through our unity that our obedience can make a difference in the world. For, the Apostle Paul said, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” – (Ephesians 4: 4-7. NASB). In other words, we should all be working toward one goal and that is to obediently share the Gospel message with others and to live for the Lord. This means that every true Christian is to faithfully submit to His will and be obedient to the Lord. If we live for the secular world, though, we are not being obedient to the Lord. Instead, we are allowing this earthly world to control our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren, and if we allow this world to control our lives we are showing others that there is no reason they shouldn’t live for this fallen world too.
Obviously, we live in this world, but we do not have to allow this world to dictate our behavior or control our lives. We are to instead focus on living for the Lord. If every Christian was to be faithfully obedient to the will of the Lord, we could see all of us moving toward and accomplishing the goal that Christ gave us to accomplish, which is to tell the entire world about Him and the gift of Salvation.
So that Christians could tell the world about the Gospel message, Christ gave some the ability to evangelize while giving others the ability to be pastors or teachers. All of these services along with the service of Christian mentors builds up the unity of the body of Christ.
With pastors, teachers, mentors, and evangelists, building up the body of Christ, “… we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” – (Ephesians 4: 14-16. NASB). This means that it is important for each Christian to live for Christ so that others can see the love of Christ in us. Seeing us living for Christ helps others mature in their faith and behaviors too, so they can do for the Lord what they have been created by Him to do. Certainly, our children and grandchildren will look at how we live and how we portray or live for Christ. So, if we fail to read the Bible, or fail to adhere to the things that Christ has asked us to do or not do, we are setting negative examples. In such cases, our children and grandchildren will learn from our actions and attitudes that their parents and grandparents do not follow what they have told them to do, so why should they. Therefore, it is very important that parents be consistent in their behaviors and attitudes as well as faithful to Christ in all they do.
Parents should also not allow themselves to be tossed about by the trickery of men, by craftiness or deceitful scheming, or by false doctrines. We have to rely on the Word of God so that our children can rely on the Word of God as well. Furthermore, we need to actively mentor our children in recognizing trickery, craftiness, deceitful scheming and false doctrines so they will recognize them when the world or their teachers and professors try to influence their beliefs against God.
Making a Conscious Moment by Moment Choice to Live for Christ
The Apostle Paul tells us that as Christians we must make an effort to lay aside our old self. But, what does that mean? Well, it means that once we have received Christ’s gift of Salvation, we have become a new person. We are now born-again, and we have become a new being that does not have to be drawn into the foibles and falseness of this earthly life even though we are still living in a fallen and sinful world. This new person that we have become is now indwelt by the Holy Spirit who helps us to see the difference between the falseness of this world and its harmful temptations if we were to succumb to them. We can actually now see the reality of Christ and living for Him. Our old self could be selfish, unkind, cruel, thoughtless, hurtful, prideful, jealous, and hateful among many things. However, being born-again, means that we are re-born as a new person who now thinks about those negative things in the light of the truth of Christ and God’s Word before succumbing to them. Moreover, we do not have to succumb to these temptations if we ask for help from Jesus Christ. As born-again individuals, Christ has given us the Comforter or the Holy Spirit who guides our new selves into becoming good, kind, caring, thoughtful and loving individuals who desire to emulate the loving attitudes and behaviors of Christ, if we will listen to Him and adhere to the truth of the Bible.
Upon Salvation, the newly Saved person is thrilled with his or her new joy, attitude and being. Unfortunately, the devil or Satan is not so thrilled, and he and his minions will do everything they can to cause the born-again person to stumble and fall by using personal temptations, denials from others that Christ exists, as well as through the secular maze of unbelievers who will ridicule and make fun of a newly Saved person. But, the Apostle Paul tells us that all Saved persons must make a concerted effort to deny their old self and to keep Satan from drawing them back into the secular or earthly world. Paul said, “… in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” -- (Ephesians 4: 22-24. NASB). This means that we have to make a conscious effort to depend on the power of the Holy Spirit when we are confronted with choices that our old self may have been tempted to make. Often it is the making of moment by moment decisions that, if made wisely, will represent Christ to the world and keep us from doing something that we would regret. Certainly, we do not want to have our previous manner of life interfere with our new life in Christ. Just as importantly, we do not want to do anything that will cause our children or grandchildren to make wrong decisions in their new life in Christ.
Choosing to Feast on the Word of God
Being “renewed in the spirit of your mind” should be a day by day objective of every Christian. In fact, it is God’s Word that renews our minds. For, we are filled with the spiritual strength of God’s truth each time we open the Bible and read the pages within. For example, we have been told for years that we need a certain number of calories and a certain amount of water to maintain our life. So, most people eat three meals a day and drink at least a couple of glasses of water daily to maintain their body weight and to stay healthy. Sadly, we have all seen the pictures of African children who are slowing starving to death, because they cannot get enough food. They are starving and are dehydrated, too, because they cannot get enough food and water. We too, would starve and dehydrate if we did not have enough food and water, but most of us can easily reach inside the refrigerator to find something to eat or turn on the tap to get water to drink, and we also do so with regularity. Well, you have to do the same in order to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind”. In other words, if we do not open the Bible and get the spiritual food from the Word from the Bible, our minds and our spirits will starve. Indeed, every Christian needs to be filled with the Word of God every day in order to have the spiritual food of truth that they need for the renewing of their mind and to maintain their faith. People also need the living water of Salvation that Christ provides in order to share the Gospel with others.
As parents and grandparents, we need to set the example of feasting on the Word of God daily. Moreover, we need to drink in the living water that comes from knowing Christ. Our intimate relationship with Christ and His living water comes from our Salvation. However, it is important to stay in the Word of God and live out the truth of the Word daily for others to see so they too will want the living water of Christ and never have to be spiritually thirsty again. It is also important that our children and grandchildren see us set aside the time to read the Bible. They also need to hear us talk about what we have learned that particular day from reading the Bible. In other words, we need to talk about what the Bible has taught us that day. Then they need to see us apply God’s Word to our lives, so they understand how to apply God’s Word to their lives too. This means that parents should talk about what a particular passage means to them and then show their children and teenagers how they can relate that particular Scripture to their everyday life.
Finally, when opportunities arise for parents and grandparents to mentor their children, teenagers, or friends on a certain topic or on a particular question or situation, their children and their friends will have more faith in their ability to give them the truth that comes from the Word of God because they will be knowledgeable. Moreover, their children and their friends will see that they truly trust God’s Word to guide them in their actions, attitudes, and behaviors and that they have lived out God’s truth to the best of their abilities.
Living daily for Christ becomes second nature to those who are born-again and who stay in the Word of God. So, to help our children feel like they are living for Christ, we need to be there for them. We need to work at understanding what they are going through each day at school. And, we need to help them live outwardly for Christ through mentoring, sharing, caring, and by encouraging them to have positive Christian attitudes toward others and with those with whom they have relationships. Furthermore, we need to talk with our children and grandchildren all the time; not just once in a blue moon. That does not mean that we talk at them, but rather that we engage them in an actual conversation that has a learning sequence within it. Additionally, parents need to let their children and grandchildren talk to them and let the children and teenagers ask them questions even if they have to tell them that they will need to research the answer and get back to them when they have found the answer. Our children and grandchildren also need to realize that we are not perfect people, but rather that their parents are attempting to live as God wants them to live. This is how we can become an earth angel for the Lord. We become an earth angel by uplifting others, being kind and helpful, and by being living examples of Saved and obedient children of God.
God wants each of us to live for Him daily and to glorify Him with our attitudes and our sharing of the Gospel message. We can do it! We can be that earth angel who helps others and shares the Gospel message. We can give our Lord and Savior the glory that He deserves, and we can help others to find Christ before it is too late. I encourage each of you to step forward to share Christ with others and to live out your unity in the body of Christ with joy and truth. I also encourage all parents and grandparents to engage in talking with and in mentoring their children or grandchildren.
There is so much that depends on what we as Christian parents do or don’t do when it comes to teaching and mentoring our future generations. Because we have refused to stand up for God’s Word and teach His truth in the past, we are now where we are today within a society that does not believe in truth. Sadly, more and more parents tell me that a child of theirs who had been raised in church has now fallen away from their belief in God. They have succumbed to the secular and liberal teachers and friends who have no truth on which to stand, so they too are now floundering in a sea of ideas with no meanings. Their lives are filled with just empty philosophies of which the Scripture tells us to: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than on Christ.” – (Colossians 2: 8. NIV).
As Christian parents and grandparents we can stand up to the devil who has used the secular world to infiltrate our homes and lives. We can start living out our Christianity for our children and grandchildren and the world to see. We can stand up for the truth by not allowing the philosophies of this world, the propaganda of the media, and ungodly ideas of Hollywood to go uncontested. We can do this by talking to our children and grandchildren and by walking the Christian walk each and every day. I believe in you. You can change the direction of this world. Rather we can together change the direction of this world one person at a time. We just have to walk the Christian walk and reach out and actively mentor another for the Lord. Just reach out and be that example of a true born-again Christian.
In the next blog, we will continue with Ephesians 4: 25-32 so we can learn just what we, as the body of Christ, are supposed to do within this life journey that we have been given. I can’t wait to discuss this chapter with you. Until then, share Christ with someone. Tell them your personal Salvation story and mentor your children and friends in knowing Christ. Be an earth angel to someone who needs your help or needs information about how to come to the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ. You can do it! You can be an Active Relational Christian Mentor and a Christian friend. You can be an earth angel to your children and grandchildren. May God Bless each of you!
Blessings of the Cross: Day 18
by Anne Graham Lotz
by Anne Graham Lotz
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will
be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 (NIV)
“Even in the blackness of hate and evil swirling
around the cross, the love of God broke through like the
rays of the sun on a stormy day. That love shone down
on the two thieves crucified on each side of Jesus. Their
agony and fury boiled over and spewed out in a venom of
curses and taunts.
But one of the thieves grew quieter and quieter, until
finally he rebuked his partner in crime, “We are punished
justly, . . . but this man has done nothing wrong.” And
then, in one of the most moving conversion scenes in
human history, the thief turned his face toward Jesus and
pleaded in humble faith, “Jesus, remember me when you
come into your kingdom.” And Jesus turned his face
toward the thief and promised, “I tell you the truth,
today you will be with me in paradise.” In the twinkling
of an eye, that thief changed his eternal destiny; he passed
from death to life.”
What about you? Have you changed your eternal destiny? If not, you can do it now. All you have to do is reach out to Christ and repent of your sinfulness and ask for His forgiveness. In repentance and belief in the risen Savior, just ask Christ to come into your heart and change you. Tell Christ that you believe that He is the Living Son of God who came to earth and died and arose for you so that you can be made righteous and spend eternity with Him. Then thank Christ for your new life and go and tell someone or everyone you know that you are now a child of God and that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Your eternal destiny has now been changed! If you really did this with belief and love, you now are destined for Heaven!