(At the Table with Ezra)
Ezra (4 yrs. old) woke up at 7:02 a.m. and met me at the kitchen table. I sat him there so we could be eye to eye. He’s been asking a lot about what is going to happen when he dies.
Ezra: “Dad, will I get a body when I come out (of the ground)?
Me: Yeah, buddy, but it will be a much better one.
Ezra: Will I get to eat?
Me: Yeah, but the food will be the best you’ve ever tasted.
Ezra: Can I have some toast?
Me: Sure, bud. You want to make it?
Ezra: Yeah, Dad!
He proceeded to make toast for he and Samuel, thoroughly enjoying the responsibility. Not sure if this qualifies for delighting in him, but for his little 4-year-old being, he sure did smile a lot and laugh through our conversation.
If you’ve been to the grocery story, the mall or seen your neighbors outside you’re certainly familiar that delighting in children is not the cultural standard. I’ve cringed more than once at a parent’s heightened reprimand in public. And if it’s in public, it’s certainly worse at home.
But what’s the problem? They do so much that is wrong and bothersome.
What would happen if we would walk in the counter-cultural, delight-driven approach among our little tribes?
And, what does Jesus’ desire from us parents look like in the realm of delight?
Really, Why Should You Delight in Your Children?
Here are four reasons that I believe Jesus calls fathers and mothers to delight in their children: it’s your design, it deepens love and trust, it displays His nature, and declares His glory. They’re not conclusive, but can begin to get our wheels turning as we think about the journey in delight.
It’s Your Design
You were made in the image of God who at the core of His nature is an Eternal Father. Part of you walking in your identity at a basic level is to reflect the Father’s heart of love and joy to your kid(s). Mom’s I think you can apply this to your hearts just the same.
Solomon talks about the heart of a father in the context of discipline, but highlights the emotions of delight.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Although it is not the natural state of your or my heart, a redeemed father or mother will feel the pleasure of the Lord over their children. When you connect to His heart, you’re walking in the very path and steps designed uniquely by your Creator.
You Deepen Your Level Of Love And Trust
In our efforts to train our children in the way they should go and bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord there are certainly two sides to the coin: discipline and delight. If we discipline without delight, we will produce religious children.
On the flipside, if we delight without ever training, we’ll produce children who are at the center of their world. We have to major on both. An article on from the National Center for Fathering says it like this:
“…we should make every effort to experience delight and build strong, positive relationships—that’s the part that gives balance. Effective [parenting] immerses those limits in an ocean of love.
– Jay Payleitner
, Brock Griffin
and Carey Casey
Delighting in them digs the well of love and trust that supplies fresh water to your relationship.
You Display The Father’s Heart To Your Child
The gift of being the authority figure in our children’s lives is both a great honor and responsibility. Because we were entrusted with this responsibility, displaying compassionate, joyful authority gives our children their first glimpse into what He is like.
Delighting in your children is one of the chief ways the Father reveals His nature and character to your little ones. Whether four, fourteen or forty-four, every child loves to experience delight and that from you is a most prized possession.
You Declare His Glory
When you delight in your children, the Father of Delight is glorified. The very fact that He delights in you is profound. You can only walk in the fruit of love you have received from Him. All of the love and delight you pour into your child speaks of a love and delight you have received. You delight is actually a measure of light shining from you.
“Let your light shine that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Among the chief reasons to delight in your children is to reveal and declare the glory and majesty of the Chief Delighter, our Creator God.
Let’s rise up and walk in our design, deepen our trust and love with them, display His heart to them and ultimately, declare His glory. I bet you can think of many more reasons behind delight, but I hope this has primed the pump. The refresher of ‘Why?’ is part of the intrinsic motivation for living intentionally in delight.
Here’s Your Action Step…
Write down 3 reasons why you should delight in your kids. It’s that easy. On a sheet of paper or your journal. Maybe there’s a Bible verse that pops up. Whatever comes to mind. Your ideas are powerful. Five Star Bonus: Have your spouse do the same and discus.
May the Lord release grace on our hearts as we grow in delight.