Friday, August 15, 2008
My Dad: Leaving a Legacy of Godliness
If I didn't know and love the Lord, I would be without excuse.
I have been shepherded by parents who have modeled faithfulness and devotion to Him in a way that I am seeking to follow now as a parent.
My Dad is a pastor, and he writes daily e-mail devotionals to his church. He goes through books of the Bible, verse by verse, in these daily devotionals. I receive them, because I like reading what Dad has to say each day from the Word. (It's a little like sitting at the breakfast table when I was a kid and him reading to us from his little devotional book in his p.j.'s...but not quite.) I particularly loved what Dad wrote today. It's a lot like 2 Corinthians 7:1 that I'm memorizing right now. "Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body and spirit, and let us work toward complete purity because we fear God."
The other day, I was having a conversation with some folks and the term "preacher's kid" with all it's negative connotations came up. I quickly told them I was a P.K. but all five of us kids are grown now and loving and serving the Lord. They asked what was the difference in our home? There's an easy and clear answer. My Dad never put shepherding a church flock above shepherding his home flock. He was a real, Godly man at home and he taught us to love God.
I wanted to share a little snippet of my Dad with you, to show you the legacy that I have received, and bless you with him. Many of you may be the first generation like him, passing this down to your children. What an amazing testimony to God's goodness!
New American Standard Version
Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
Understanding that He has a plan for each of us to become more like Jesus each day, let us rid ourselves of anything that even resembles the immorality and impurity so common among those who reject the Lord.
"How does this help me become more like Him?"
Many years ago, I traveled to another country and witnessed something I had never seen growing up in America. At that time in this large city in Asia, the sewer system ran above ground. There was literally human waste running in the ditches of the streets. As you can imagine, the smell was not pleasant and I cannot even imagine the potential health hazards that such exposure to filth posed. I am sure that to live in such conditions, one would have to take great care and precautions not to become infected and become ill.
Thankfully, in our country today there are strict standards and guidelines to protect our physical health from such filth and infection. However, there is far less protection morally and spiritually. Sin and immorality flow freely in our society. Guarding yourself from spiritual infection is even more difficult than biological infection because the pollution of the heart and soul is much more acceptable in our culture. We have become desensitized to that which can pollute our hearts and poison our minds.
We find our plan to safeguard ourselves in Romans 12:2, where Paul commands us not to shape our lives according to the morality and practice of our culture. Instead, we are to allow the Holy Spirit to teach and apply the principles of Scripture to our hearts so that He may use them to transform our lives. We must live in a culture that flows freely with spiritual and moral pollution but we do not have to swim in it. The challenge is to live in this world without becoming polluted by it.
We must use wisdom and discernment to make the right decisions concerning what is immoral and unwise. We must teach our children and grandchildren modesty and good taste. We must help them understand behaviors that put them at risk for the attack of the evil one or a hindrance to their testimony for Christ. Most of all, we must model for them and teach to them the priority of bringing glory to Christ with all of their lives. As His children, we are not our own to do as we please. We have been bought at a very high price - His own blood.
We must remember that we are not citizens of this world - we are here on assignment from our King. Our loyalty and allegiance, as well as our values and behaviors, must come from our homeland. We must live here for Him for now but we're just passing through.
"How should I pray for Him to change my life?"
Pray for the protection of the Holy Spirit upon your mind to protect you from the pollution of this culture. Ask for strength to withstand every temptation to blend in with and become comfortable with the immorality of our day. Allow the Holy Spirit to do His transforming work of renewing your mind each day.
Dr. Ed Seay
First Baptist Church