Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

Excitement emanated from all three kids.  Finally, the movie they had been waiting to see for months was right in front of them.  Pajamas were on, blankets were brought down from upstairs, and eyes were glued with anticipation.

Now normally, Chris and I would sit down and watch a rented (Redbox) movie with our kids, but not this night.  We had some things to do, so this night we just casually viewed it from time to time. We were in the next room and could hear most of the movie.

One "bad" word.  Then two.  Three....

I quote "bad" because our definition may be different than some.  Our view is obviously different than the producers of this movie or other children's movie producers.  Anything that berates others or is disrespectful in our opinion is "bad".  However, this particular movie even crossed over into the "bad" realm of adult standards.  It was PG! 

Realizing this was not a movie for our kids to watch, I went in the living room and turned it off.

Anarchy broke loose.  "What are you doing?"  "That movie was so funny."  "We have been waiting months to see it!"  Tears.  Pleas to turn it back on.

Father, help us to explain to them why we are doing this.  

We want our kids to understand that when we make decisions like this, it is not to keep them from what they want or "fun", it is because we love them and want what is best for them.  The same is true of our Lord.  When we trust Him and know this truth, it is easier to obey.

The Lord did help us.  We explained how we need to be careful about what we watch.  We must guard our hearts.  What goes into our minds, comes out.  We need to be prudent in what we view and hear.

Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life
Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.  Proverbs 4:23

We explained how it was our job to help protect their minds until they could monitor and protect it for themselves. This was all very unsatisfactory to their tired little ears.  The tears and protests continued up the stairs, through brushing teeth and into bed. 

Lord, what now? 

Part of the protest was that we (the parents) were able to watch whatever we want.

My son was accusing me of a double standard.  Was it true?  Time to self-examine.

Condemnation raised its ugly voice.  You hypocrite.  It was a lie.  I silenced it with truth. 

"Joe, no we don't get to watch whatever we want.  We have to guard our hearts and minds also."  It was then I realized that I could TOTALLY relate to what our kids were going through.

Many times I will be watching a show that I have been look forward to seeing, a show that I was very excited about seeing and right in the middle of it, I will get a knowing that I have to turn it off.  Disappointed, I will turn it off.  This happens ALL THE TIME with television shows.  Seriously, there are very few shows I can watch on the TV.   And it is common for me to finally find a show that is funny, just to have to turn it off after a few viewings.  It can be disappointing.

Let me say that I am disappointed with the television producers, never the Lord.  I am not resentful,  it is my choice to guard my heart.

We explained all this to the kids.  Then, the Lord gave me another verse.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.   2 Cor 4:7 (Emphasis added)

In us is a treasure, the greatest treasure. 

A concept my kids should understand.  They love pirate and treasure stories.  So the conversation continued....

"We have in a us a treasure more valuable than gold.  If you had a treasure chest full of gold, would you just throw garbage and junk on it?  No, you would want to  keep it shiny and beautiful. We don't want to make our treasure yucky by throwing garbage on it?  We have Jesus on the inside of us and He is the greatest treasure, more valuable than gold.  When we watch movies or listen to something that is unpleasing to the Lord and has bad words, we are throwing garbage on our Treasure.  We make our insides yucky, and we don't want our insides to be yucky.  We want our insides clean so our Treasure can shine." 

Finally, a glimmer of hope!  I saw the light bulb start to turn on.  They were still disappointed, but a seed of understanding was planted.  Phew.....that was a hard one.  Time for bed. 

The verse above in 2 Cor 4:6 is also good:

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

The same God who commanded the light to shine, lives in us and shines His light in our hearts, and works through us!  He has chosen us, frail and flawed earthen vessels, to hold His glorious treasure.

On a majestic, glorious night 2011 years ago, God sent His greatest Treasure in the form of a frail, human vessel.  A precious gift from our Heavenly Father.  This gift was greater than any treasure ever given.  Completely God, yet completely man.  The treasure of eternal salvation, of living free, of being forgiven, of joy and peace. 


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