“I’m your servant—help me understand what that means, the inner meaning of your instruction” (Psalm 119:125 MSG).
“What do you want to see your child learn during this school year?”
I tapped the eraser end of my pencil on the table.
It’s not a new question. I’ve been answering it for years. The first time I registered my oldest daughter for preschool, I sat in a child-sized chair and hunched over a child-sized table and completed the “Help Me Get to Know Your Child” form.
Some questions were easy. What does she like? What are her strengths? I scribbled away for a while, trying to sum up my precious daughter in a few sentences on blank lines.
But when it came to that one question—What do you want her to learn?—-tap, tap, tap went the top of the pen on the preschool table.
Tap, tap, tap goes my pencil after Open House for second grade. Some things never change.
What am I supposed to put on this form? Multiplication? Cursive? Powerful writing skills?
Truly, I want her to know in a deep-down, unquestioning way that God loves her.
This was Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19
I’m not talking about being able to rattle off John 3:16 or sing Jesus Loves Me.
In her book A Sudden Glory, Sharon Jaynes notes that the first word for know here is gnosis or ginosko: “This word is not simply a head knowledge but an intimate heart knowledge,” like the “relationship between a husband and a wife.” (p. 173).
Yes! I want her to love God with that passion and to be filled up with all that God has for her because she trusts and fully knows His love.
And I want her to understand that growing in Christ takes time, a lifetime of time. There are no shortcuts to faith.
Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is a gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life.
I don’t want her to settle for a safe amount of faith, a reasonable amount of Bible knowledge, a decent prayer life, an appropriate amount of service to God. I don’t want her to declare, “I’m finished. This much is enough. No need for more of God.”
After all, He always leads us forward, perpetually changing us, incessantly maturing us. His passion is transformation.
It takes hard work. It takes discipline. It takes yielding. It takes willingness to be taught and to change. As it says in Romans:
… fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:2)
This is my prayer for her.
Not head knowledge or wisdom gained through book study and our teacher in these matters has to be more than human. Paul assures us that, “these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (vs.10).
The deep things of God. Is that what I’m asking?
Or as Paul puts it later, “We have the mind of Christ.“
He says it with such confidence. Not we want to have, we will have, someday we’ll have, or if we work hard enough we’ll have. God has given us His Spirit and with that, “we have the mind of Christ” (vs. 16).
This is what I want my daughters to learn. This is what I want to learn. I want every day to know Him more, to be filled by His Spirit, responsive to His promptings, and for my mind not to be filled with self and with world, but with Christ.
I look at the form from her teacher. How to answer this question? I decide that being vague is the way to go. “I want her to fulfill her potential, growing in her strengths even more and improving any weaknesses.”
That’s what I write. But I pray for so much more.
I pray for the deep things of God. I pray for the mind of Christ.
Originally posted on September 5, 2012
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King