Most days I am uncomfortable scrolling through Facebook. The achievements of children, students, athletes, etc… being plastered all over the Internet by parents to be seen and acknowledged by others bothers me. I want to celebrate my children. I want to mark memorable moments and I want them to know that I am proud of them. There have even been times that I have acknowledged a success on social media. I do love seeing, hearing and keeping up with friends and their children through Facebook. My concern, my discomfort comes from the possibility that my children and your children will find their identity in these posts, the number of posts, the number of likes and multiple other things that are related to being recognized on social media for an accomplishment. The “student of the week, or month, or year,” the honor society or scholarship, the 100th goal (which I recently posted), the election to an office does not define who my child is. It is not an indicator of how successful they are going to be in life.
Paul, in his letters to the early churches, reminds the believers that they are adopted children, heirs, God’s workmanship, new creations, renewed and transformed.
So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Gal 4:7 (ESV)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10 (ESV)
…put off your old self… be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph 4:22-24 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil 4:8 (ESV)
…put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Col 3:10 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom 12:2 (ESV)
That is what I want for my child. I want my children to not be conformed to this world. I want them to be transformed by the gospel, by the word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into the image of Christ.
I have four children, three daughters and one son. Their ages range from 12 – 22. I know that I have no control over their salvation or their hearts. I pray for them daily and I believe that they are children of God. But I cannot make my own stone heart a heart of flesh. Only God can do that in me and only God can do that in my children. I also know, as much as I hate to admit it, at a certain point, I really do not have control over their decisions or behavior. Some of you may disagree with me and that is okay. You have not walked in my shoes and I have not walked in yours. What I do have control over is sharing the love of Christ and the truth of the gospel with them.
Eleven years ago, I got serious about pouring the gospel’s truth into my daughters and other girls. I got serious about teaching the Word to girls in the Birmingham area through painting, sewing, cooking and other creative ways. I started a ministry in my home called Created for a Purpose. The ministry grew and grew and grew much like the little goldfish in the childhood storybook, A Fish Out of Water. What started with 20 girls in my home for a week long camp has grown into a ministry that nine different churches offer each summer to over 1000 girls in six different cities. What started as a ministry to my daughters and their friends has gone to Zambia, Maine, New Hampshire and Honduras. What started as a camp to expose girls to cooking, sewing and studying God’s word has been used locally at Restoration Academy and Big Oak Ranch and by East Lake Initiative to share the love of Christ in those communities.
I cannot cleanse my children from their idols. I cannot give them a new heart or a new spirit. God does that for me and God does that for them. I can show them the love of Christ and I can share with them the truth of the gospel. We are called to make disciples, to baptize and to teach. I want my children, the girls that come to Created for a Purpose, and their families to hear that we are all created in the image of God. I want them to understand we were created to be in a relationship with God. I want them to hear that because of sin, we are separated from God. I want them to know that God made a way for us to be redeemed through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. I want them to hear and know and understand that we are his people and He is our God.
The accolades of social media and the world we live in are temporary. The Word of God and the souls of men are eternal. I must ask myself and I must ask you: Where is your identity? Where are you encouraging your child to place his or her identity? May we be a people that seek the Lord with our whole heart.
Ingram Link’s non-profit, Created for a Purpose, is a week-long creative arts program that teaches 3rd – 8th grade girls that they are a unique masterpiece created by God. Click here to learn more.