This weekend is Father’s Day, and there is a heightened focus on our children and what it means to be a good parent. Recently, I invited my friend, Kyle Idleman, on the show to talk about the concept of surrendering our children to the Lord. In this episode, one of the things Kyle talks about is what it looks like when our children become our idols.
“I would like to take you back to a more ancient concept, but one that is easily the most discussed problem in Scripture. That is the issue of idolatry, where we are putting something in place of God in our lives. When we are looking to someone or something to do for us, what only God can do for us. When that happens, it is usually a submission issue. It shows us that our dependence is on something or someone else rather than God. One of the ways to identify your idols is to ask a few questions.
What are you most afraid of?
The psychologist Alfred Adler says that if you want to know what you’re living for, you pay attention to your nightmares. The idea here is to identify whatever you are most concerned about losing. In other words, if I lost it, I just don’t think I could keep on going. If something happened to my kids, if this happened to our family, I just don’t think I could keep on going. That’s the idol. That’s what needs to be surrendered. That’s what we are holding on to very tightly.
Another question to ask yourself to see if something needs to be surrendered or submitted to God would be:
What area in my life am I most disappointed with?
Our disappointments show us what we’ve put our hope in. Examine where there is a disproportionate disappointment. Where it lingers, it stays with us. That is an indication that something hasn’t been submitted, something hasn’t been surrendered to God.
As parents, our children can easily become idols. Not just for children but for our children’s safety, decisions, happiness, sadness, and disappointments. We can get so wrapped up in those things.
The antidote for that goes back to John 15: to recognize I don’t have a lot of control over those things. I am the branch, and Jesus is the vine. I want to stay connected to him; I want to worship Him. The more I keep my focus on that connection, the more I put him in his right place, the more those things begin to line up more accurately. Augustine calls those things “disordered love.” They aren’t bad- they are good things that have become too important.
I would just encourage parents, as you are looking at your children and as you’re thinking about their future, safety, and security, to ask themselves:
Am I putting my hope in those things? And if I am, how do I continually surrender those things to God and put my hope in him?”Many thanks to Kyle for visiting us on the Hearing Jesus Podcast. You can listen to the full episode here: Surrendering Our Children to the Lord: A Message for Parents