As Christians, we are to show Christ through our lives all the time. No matter where we are, we are to be as Christ is. His Spirit should flow out of our hearts into our actions under all circumstances.
But sometimes we try harder when we have an audience. In public we tend to be more careful, just a tiny bit more diligent, speaking just a little more softly, thinking just a little longer before we speak at all. After all, the Bible says, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) And that’s our goal, right? We want to lift Christ up in our lives so people are drawn to Him. We want to be sweet and loving so people find Him attractive.
The other day I read a blog post that really spoke to my heart. It was written by a mother who pointed out our children are people too. In fact, our children are our MAIN audience. And they are the audience most tender and affected by Christ in our lives. They are the ones who hear our words about Christ’s love – and then are there at our most stressful moments, watching, witnessing, waiting to see if we will demonstrate Christ’s love to them. If we show them this true picture of Christ, it will draw them to Him. If we are hypocritical, and tell them one thing about Christ while showing them the opposite, it will push them away.
In my devotions the other day I read Psalm 101:2 “…I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” It got me started seriously thinking about my actions, attitudes, and words toward my children.
Am I showing my children Christ’s love?
Am I drawing my children to me gently, blessing them? (Matthew 19:14)
Am I showing my children Christ’s forgiveness, even on their worst days, even for their worst behavior? (John 8:3-11)
Am I showing my children Christ’s patience?
Am I serving them selflessly, just as Christ served selflessly, even when I haven’t had a single moment all day to rest and restore my soul by spending time alone – just me and God? (Matthew 14:1-21)
This last one was a hard one for me. When I read the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand before I had children, all I saw was that He fed the hungry people. Once I had children, I finally noticed the prelude to the story.
Jesus was tired. He had been giving, and giving, and serving, and loving, and teaching, and giving some more. And now He was sorrowful too. He needed to rest. He needed to spend time alone with God. He needed to take care of Himself for a while. So He went off into a desert place, to be alone.
And a crowd of needy people showed up.
Demanding His attention.
What was Christ’s response? Did He push them away? Did He reluctantly pay attention to them just long enough to distract them with something and send them on their way?
Christ talked to them. And then He fed them.
Even though He was tired, and hadn’t had any time to Himself.
And we are to be like Christ at all times.
Even this time? Even this time, when I’ve looked forward to naptime all. day. long. because the kids have been absolutely wild, and I need to spend time alone with God, to restore my soul? Yes. Especially this time.
And so God gives grace. When the preschooler comes out her room needing to talk, or the toddler wakes up starving, or the baby wakes up wanting to be rocked.
Because lifting up Christ to this most important audience is always my first responsibility.
We must do all those things we do for the “public audience” for this small audience at home. We must try harder. We must be sweeter, more loving, more diligent, kinder.
This grace and patience must come from God’s love. I can’t do it on my own, but “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” My prayer is that God’s love will so fill my heart that it will spill out uncontrollably, all over the place, filling every crevice of our home, so it is impossible to be frustrated or cranky. So the only thing my children receive from me is His love, full and free and gentle.