Question from a Site Viewer
Godly living is a struggle . . .
I want to know God more and more but I struggle to be a godly father of teenage children. I do not have a back-up in my subconscious, because when I was a teenager I was living with relatives who themselves were not Christians. Please help me by perhaps giving me 10 principles for godly living.
You have expressed an interest to know God more. Here are 10 principles for godly living that should be practiced.
First, develop a habit of thanking God for big and little things throughout the day. Psalm 100 tells us to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Thanksgiving will help open our eyes to the work of God in our lives and in the lives of others. This one little practice can make a huge difference in life.
Second, be patient, both with yourself and with others. You will mess up, and so will others. But our failures are not the end when God is around. As the Psalmist says, a righteous man may fall but the Lord will sustain Him (Psalm 37:23-24). Hold to the long view, understanding that there are dips and valleys in the road, but the goal is a life ever closer to the God we love.
Third, pray about everything (Philippians 4:6). Pray when things go well. Pray when things are tough. Talk to God when you can’t decide about what to buy, talk to him about the people on the street, communicate with Him as you would if a friend were walking right with you. Bring Him into every aspect of your life. We change ourselves when we seek His will in every aspect of our lives. And pray for others. We change the world when we pray for the needs of others.
Fourth, trust Him. Once we pray, we often doubt because God does not audibly reply or demonstrate great signs for us. But having asked, we need to learn to trust that He has heard our prayers and He will guide our decisions and our ways. God has never dropped a prayer that has been sincerely prayed to Him by His people. He hears and our prayers change circumstances and people, including ourselves. Paul did not cease praying for the churches he founded. We should continue to pray always for our children and trust that God is working, even when we cannot see His work. Do not lose heart. Trust.
Fifth, look for the God-signs in life; those events where God answered prayer, or God protected you, or God sent you a nice present, or when God seems especially close to you. Celebrate those signs with praise and thanksgiving. Be like Mary, the mother of Jesus, and treasure them in your heart. Remember them and let them be signposts in your life, places where you can look back and say: “God was here.” Jacob did this when he met God; he erected an altar and said “. . . surely God is in this place” (Genesis 28:16-19).
Sixth, spend time reading and thinking about what is in the Bible. Ask yourself questions, such as, “what does this passage teach me about God, about His character?” Memorize some passages that are especially meaningful to you. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly by thinking about why God would have written the words you are reading. And what does He want to teach you from these words?
Seventh, try to find other Christians who share a desire to know and love God and spend time with them on a regular basis. You may be able to find them at church, or through a Bible study, or from friends. But take time together to pray for each other’s needs and to share joys, sorrows, and the Christ you mutually know. Such fellowship is designed by Jesus to be a strength to us.
Eighth, love your children. Tell them how much you love them often. And let them see your love through your patience, forbearance, and kindness to them. Seek to guide them rather than drive them in the ways of Christ. Set an example where they can see you, a flawed human like all of us, seek to love and follow Jesus. Provide little pleasant surprises for them, a little note of kindness, a nice treat, and tell others how special they are to you. Never speak negatively of your children to others. And though they may not say anything now, such love will become imprinted in their lives. And love them enough to tell them the truth about sin, that it can be both attractive and very destructive. Encourage them to practice the truth of Proverbs 1:10.
Ninth, place your hope fully on Jesus. Look forward to His return to this earth, even as John did (Revelation 22:20) and Paul did (Titus 2:13). Do not hope in your own righteousness or goodness, but fully on Him (Philippians 3:9-10).
Tenth, love Jesus supremely. Take up His word and obey it. Seek first the things about Him, His will and His righteousness. Love Him will all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength, all of the time. Do not let your love for Him grow cold, but kindle it anew with the fires of thankfulness and praise, worship and adoration and quiet times of focusing and communicating with Him.
A list of principles for godly living should never be considered as authoritative but these are my suggestions. In one of the greatest passages on getting to know God in the Scriptures, Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:2-11 that we should add to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control perseverance, and to perseverance godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness – love. If these things are ours, then we will be fruitful in the knowledge of Jesus. As you practice the above ten things, I believe you will grow in the knowledge of Jesus and you will be blessed in the way He changes your life and the lives of your children.
And may the Lord Jesus bless you and keep you as you seek to walk with Him.
a fellow pilgrim