This is the second post of a four part series, see the first post here.
In the last post, I shared a little about how my wife and I want to bless our kids with God’s Word and a few practical ways we’re pursuing that goal. To continue, I’d like to share a second gift we’ll use to lead our kids to be awe of Jesus. We want to bless them with God’s World.
We Will Bless Them With God’s World
Christians sometimes are wary of “the world” and its pleasures. In the Scriptures, we’re warned not to love the world (1 John 2:15) and that worldly people are devoid of the Spirit (Jude 19) and that we must learn to denounce worldly passions (Titus 2:12). But it’s crucial to know the negative statements and warnings in the Bible about the world are not about the physical world God created, but about anything in the world that stands in opposition against God. The Bible is clear, God’s physical world is good (Gen. 1:31), but the spiritual world that wars against Him is decidedly not (1 John 2:16).
Knowing the distinction between these two “worlds” is important for parents to understand because it teaches us to know what to embrace with joy and what to reject as poison. It equips us to know what to tell our kids to run to with joy and what to run from in haste. Further, knowing the goodness of God’s created world will help parents embrace the world as a powerful tool to help our kids see the goodness of God. Although God’s created world is often abused, misused, and wrongly worshiped, it’s still a very good gift from God (Gen. 1:31) to be received, enjoyed, and given thanks for (2 Tim 4:4). Far from being an obstacle to my child’s faith, the created world, rightly understood and received, is a gift that can help them see how good, true, and beautiful God actually is.
How Will We Bless Them With God’s World?
Though not exhaustive, here are a few practical ways my wife and I hope to use the world to lead our daughters to be in awe of Christ.
Study the World
Science, studying God’s created world, provides an excellent window through which my girls can see the vast wisdom and magnificence of God. As they see the complexity of a single human cell or the intricacy of our ecosystems or the vastness of our universe, they’ll be confronted with the magnitude of the God who created it all. We learn much of the Creator by studying His creation.
Experience the World
It is one thing to study honey and the properties that make it sweet, but it’s an entirely different thing to taste it. Getting our girls to experience the vastness, beauty, diversity, and profound complexity of the world will help their little souls come to grips with the One from Whom it all came. It’s one thing to tell them how high Half Dome is, but another to stand at the top and look out. It’s one thing to study marine biology, but another to swim with the sharks. Talking about the Mexican culture is good, but doing so with a carne asada burrito is even better. Steven Dewitt crystallizes the hope behind this:
Beauty was created by God for a purpose: to give us the experience of wonder. And wonder, in turn, is intended to lead us to the ultimate human expression and privilege: worship. Beauty is both a gift and a map. It is a gift to be enjoyed and a map to be followed back to the source of the beauty with praise and thanksgiving.
As we see amazing things, eat delicious and weird things, and are confronted with mysterious things, I hope my girls grow all the hungrier for the God from whom all these glorious things have come.
Enjoy the World
If all we did was study and see the world, it would be educational, but not necessarily enjoyable. Since God’s world isn’t just a textbook of information, but a place of incredible recreation, I want to make good use of not only studying it with my girls, but also playing in it. So we will make sure to swim and build sand castles at the beach, ski and make snowmen in the snow, hike the mountains, have picnics in the park, and eat the delicious foods of various cultures. In enjoying God’s world, I hope my girls are often brought the the question, “What kind of good and generous God gives us gifts like these?”
Reflect on the World
The more we think about good things, the more we enjoy them. Reflection breeds rejoicing. So, as we study, experience, and enjoy the world, I hope to have meaningful conversation about it. If earth’s joys are heaven’s appetizers, then thinking on the appetizers will lead our bellies to grumble for the main course. So, I hope to paint pictures of the landscapes with my girls, write about experiences, talk about various cultures and our shared experiences. I want to make sure reflection of the world is always on the heals of our enjoyment and experience of it.
Use Both of God’s Books
God has two books He reveals Himself through: the book of His Word (the Bible) and the book of His world (creation). In addition to teaching the book of His Word, help your child taste and see God’s glory in the book of His world. Truly, the earth is filled with His glory (Isaiah 6:3) so give your children the eyes to see it everywhere they go.