To make the Christian life appear easy does two things:
1. It gives a false picture to our children as to what they face in later life. When they encounter the hardship necessary for real growth, they’ll think something is wrong in their relationship to God, because they’re going through difficult times.
2. They’ll see us saying one thing and living another. If it’s not explained to them that we do the very things that we are the most against because of our weaknesses, they see us as being “two-faced.” This hypocrisy might well turn them away from God altogether.
The struggle we all go through to be God’s person is the struggle of the Christian life. To deny it is to close our eyes to one of the major reasons for the Holy Spirit’s existence — to give us the strength we need to defeat the Enemy.
The ultimate victory over the power of Satan is guaranteed to us. We will win the war! But we will lose many battles along the way. To imply to our children that we never struggle or lose does them an injustice. We must be mature enough to be vulnerable for Christ. By admitting our weaknesses and failures, we build credibility and, at the same time, show God’s healing power within us.
In the world, weakness and defeat are negatives. In the Christian’s life, weakness and defeat show the need for the Physician and his healing power. Our losses are our classrooms in our growth.
Prayer is vital for combating our failures and weaknesses by focusing God’s power on them. By asking our children to pray for us, we not only recognize our shortcomings but also demonstrate our dependence on his power. We become authentic and real to our kids by showing them that we often fail in our Christian walk.
To be an ambassador for Christ means to paint an honest picture of what it means to follow him. To deny the struggles is to deny a vital part of discipleship.
• Jim Bush, a chaplain, lives in Tracy and can be reached at email@example.com. All religious leaders in the Tracy and Mountain House communities are invited to write columns for Reflections on Faith. To learn more, call 835-3030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.