二○一九年三月二日／三月三日 Click here for English version
Living Up To One's Name
Rev Eva Lok
Names are important. In the old days, Israelite names largely reflected the lives of the name bearers. For us today, believers invariably give names to their children that represent their hope. Judges 17 recounts a man named Micah, or "who is like the LORD." Ironically, Micah's life was in no way godlike. He stole money from his mother, took the LORD for an idol, and built a shrine in his house. His absurdity came from his mother who carved idols for herself. Parents today also like giving spiritually meaningful names. However, will their children really live up to the names' expectations? That will depend on whether parents can teach children verbally and by example, and whether they can live out their faith and pass it on to the next generation. The spiritual lives of parents have direct bearings on their children's growth. The following growth factors and spirituality are closely related:
Biological & Spiritual: Believers need to spend time getting close to God and meditating on His Word to grow spiritually. Modern life is busy. Fatigue is common and blocks our focus during quiet time. Means become ends, deadlines must be met, daily devotional and exercises – what are truly important – are often sacrificed. Physical and mental fatigue hinders our relationship with God. Parents sometimes need a reminder from their children to read Bible stories themselves. We need to pay a price to train up ourselves physically and spiritually. It is not until we put our lives in order that we can look forward to spiritual growth.
Psychological & Spiritual: The image of the Heavenly Father is gradually impressed upon children through parents' love and acceptance. God's love is unconditional, but parents' love is often not. Parents want their children to make a head start in life, do well in exams, perform well – even if they do not compare favorably with others, they should not appear less so. Parents are a channel that conveys the love of the Heavenly Father. Sometimes when their children's performance is less than ideal, the parents will think that their children are not as good as others, forgetting that every child is unique and deserves appreciation. We are all unique in God's eyes. Therefore, we should explore the lovely side of our children, and express appreciation and encouragement more often. When children feel more secure, they will be less vulnerable to temper. We need to let children experience God's love through parents.
Social & Spiritual: The spiritual community is important to both parents and children. Bringing children into a spiritual community will enable them to grow up with their spiritual peers. The mutual encouragement and support in a fellowship reduces the load in nourishing growth. From the way parents get along with others, children will learn to love and share with one another. I find that children can merge into the spiritual community of their parents' fellowship more easily than build their own in Sunday School. It is because fellowship activities tend to be more interactive.
A good name is just the beginning. Parents' spiritual lives are intertwined with their children's spiritual growth. We need balanced attention to all of the above.