Tuesday, October 13, 2020

God's Means for God's Children: Reflections on His Covenant Faithfulness to His Covenant Children in My Home

My Google Photos just shot me a spread from when my eldest were 2 and 1. In some ways, I remember those days better than I remember last year. What I remember most is how quickly the Spirit made those little hearts and minds latch onto His Word. Strong faith in Christ and love for God and man developed so early in them.

And after another decade and a half of the means of grace, my wife and I have the blessing of living for some years with a woman of God and man of God from the coming generation, before they take off to become the generation. Not perfect yet and still growing, but what the Lord is doing in them has begun to crystallize, and it's marvelous. We didn't have terrible twos or terrible teens. We had God's merciful and powerful blessing upon His means.

I look at the 2 and 1 year old in the photos, and my heart is just too full. I thought I'd try to put it in this post, but haven't quite been successful. The Lord hasn't done the same work at the same pace in each child. But He has been the same Lord, and they have all been His set-apart children, and He has been blessing the same means to them, and whatever work He does in them affords me similar gratitude.

It also makes me grieve over the children with which I haven't applied the means as consistently and believingly. But that just renews repentance and resolve as I cling to Him and not our performance. If they were to fall, I would have none but myself to blame—for what is to me an unimaginable horror.

But rather than resolving out of fear over what my shortcomings could cause, it is out of confidence in what His faithfulness will cause, what His mercy will cause, and what His power will cause that I renew resolve to walk in His ways with Him.

And He will bring them up in His way and keep them in His way, and when they are old, they will not depart from it. The more we walk simply by His means, the more we look back and say not "I brought them up" but "the Lord brought them up." For, while there was plenty of shortcoming on our part, that which has had its effect is the instruction not of ourselves but of the Lord, and the discipline not of ourselves but of the Lord. Family worship by family worship. Bedtime prayers and Psalms by bedtime prayers and Psalms. Lord's Day by Lord's Day. Public worship by public worship. Sermon by sermon. Supper by supper. Improvement of baptism. Prayer by prayer.

Day by day and week by week. The Lord brought them up. Because they were His. And now we see that sweet fruit that assures us that this is so for one more hopeful generation of the church in this world as they lead in the church militant, and then forever and ever whenever they join the church triumphant. What a marvelous, covenant God we serve!

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