Joseph was born into a good family; in fact mom and dad go to church when the schedule opens up. They live in a nice home and dad has worked very hard to give Joseph a comfortable life. As Joseph grows up, he tries to learn what this life is all about. He listens, watches, and attempts to dissect the obvious and not so obvious priorities of his family.
Even at a young age, he is affirmed at the way he looks, the goal he kicked in the soccer game, and 10 out of 10 he received on his reading quiz. As he plays his PS3 at night, he overhears his parents once again talk about how great it would be to have a larger backyard for Joseph and his sister in the northern part of the city. Their conversation quickly shifts to vacation next summer and saving enough to get the whole family to that special destination.
Joseph’s dad works long hours but comes home in time for dinner. As far as Joseph can understand, Dad has two passions, two things that really excite Dad: Saturday mornings coaching Joseph and his sister to soccer championships and remodeling the kitchen. It’s been a 3 year project but when that kitchen is done, they can finally have people over; they can finally entertain the way their other friends can.
Joseph’s mom is the organizer; the one keeps the books and keeps the family going. She’s very good at it. Joseph anticipates the first questions out of her mouth as he steps into her mini-van after school, Joseph says, “9 out of 10 mom!”, that’s what he got on his daily reading quiz. The other thing that Joseph notices about his mom is that she is always muttering to herself numbers during meals: 220, 115, 330. Later on he discovers these “numbers” are calories that she is about to eat. She is very beautiful but often reminds Joseph’s dad how much she has gained or lost in any given week.
This is the world that Joseph grows up in. These are Joseph’s observations about what is the most important to mom and dad.
My kids are very young but if you were to interview them, in their own words they would accurately tell you what are the priorities and truths that operate my life. If I were to interview your kids, in their own words they would tell me exactly what is important to you.
In John 8:31b-32, Jesus lays out our family priorities as disciples of Christ, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Christ is the truth and His Word is true, His truth always leads to freedom. We must abide in His truth!
In this context in John 8, Jesus is talking to those who had just affirmed their faith in Him in (vs. 30). To “abide” (meno) or “continue” is used to express the most intimate relationship between Father and Son (Jn. 14:10). Here it means to dwell intimately, remain in Christ’s Words. As we dwell intimately, trusting Christ’s Words, we are His disciples. His dwelling intimately with us is tied to our dwelling intimately with His Words and Teaching. John 15:14 tells us, “You are my friends if you do what I tell you.” A couple of verses earlier Christ says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (Jn. 15:7-8)
Our freedom in this world is tied to us dwelling intimately with Christ and His Words. His truth is what brings us freedom! The greatest gift we can give our children is the gift of personally knowing the Truth and allowing the Truth to make us free. The children that God has privileged us to influence will learn more about Christ through our daily decisions and activity than any word that comes out of our mouth. Christ’s truth has come to liberate us from the conformity of this world and to give hope to our watching children.