Last year sometime, I started a bath for my daughter and she asked me if I would stay in the bathroom with her. Often she likes her own “me” time to play and play in there until she resembles a prune. This time, she wanted me close by so I stayed. I grabbed my devotional for the day and asked her if she would like me to read it out loud to her. She replied with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” so I proceeded to take my seat on the porcelain perch and began to read. The passage for the day happened to be Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a ‘fragrant’ offering and sacrifice to God.” We started to discuss what being an “imitator of God” may look like and then what came next shook me to my core. In fact, it shook me way more than it should have as a follower of Christ who desires to have unwavering faith.
My precious daughter said, “Mommy, what if we decide not to follow Jesus?”
Clearing my throat…”What exactly do you mean, honey?” She responds, “Well, what if someone (whew…thank goodness she didn’t say what if ‘I’) decided they didn’t believe in Jesus?” Seriously girls? This is not something I even wanted to try to wrap my brain around, nor did I want to give this possibility too much attention. Only, that is what it needed. You see, I have believed in Jesus as far back as I can remember and was a pew warmer at church for years and years. At age 32, however; I learned that I did not have the slightest clue what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus. So yes, this question deserved my undivided attention.
What I should have done in this moment is prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill me with the words that my precious girl needed to hear about our Heavenly Father and about the consequences of a decision to not follow Him. Instead, I simply said, “If you decide not to follow Jesus, you will not go to Heaven.” She responded, “Oh no! I want to go to Heaven to see Papa, Uncle Clyde, Grandma Tut, Tom-Tom, and Bingo (a neighborhood dog).” Sigh. Relief. God used this conversation to teach me three things:
Firstly, often times, a huge explanation is not needed. The truth can be shared in many ways and even if I do not have the answers, which is often the case, I can point others to His Word where the answers to all of life’s questions can be found. People do not need me to be philosophical and speak “Christianese” to them. They need me to be a light and to show them Christ through the way I live and the way I love.
Secondly, we cannot be someone else’s Holy Spirit. You are not in control of your friends decisions and I am not in control of my daughter’s decisions as she grows up…but by golly, I will do the best I can to be a godly example for her and to plant the seeds that God will grow as she seeks Him in her life. And she will seek Him. She already does in her own little way and she will continue to. I have faith. In the meantime, I will commit to covering her precious soul in prayer and ask that God give her the wisdom and discernment to make good choices as she is faced with tough decisions throughout her life. Is there someone you know who needs Jesus? Pray for them! Pray for them until they come to know Him! Pray without ceasing!
Thirdly, I have a lot of work to do. I will never achieve perfection here on Earth. Thank God I was able to take that off of my ‘to do’ list. That being said, there are many times where I have not been an imitator of Christ. Did I say many times? I can probably think of many times today that this has been the case. Yikes. I certainly do not treat my body as a temple. Growl. There are many times I have not been humble. Ouch. As long as I am being real, there are many times that ‘this little light of mine’ has been hidden under that bushel and has been completely overshadowed by poor choices or a poor attitude. Gross. 1 Corinthians 8:9 says, “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” The last thing I want to do is be a “stumbling block” to anyone whether it be my child, my husband, my friend, or even someone I may not know. A stumbling block is exactly what I am going to be if I take my eyes off of Christ and allow the ways of the world to dim my light…
Thank you God for using this child of Yours to teach me and bring me back to a place of humbleness in my journey. Sometimes my lens just needs to be refocused.