Jan26MonJanuary 26, 2015
Dr. James Boyd
If teens learn their values from parents, and the knowledge of God and His greatness is THE treasure, and if it is the natural frailty of human parents that provides the opportunity for God's great power to be shown, what does this all look like? 2 Cor. 4:7-11 provides the four life-situations that provide the "teachable moments" through which the importance of knowing God's greatness can be clearly communicated. The first teachable opportunity (v. 8) is when parents are "pressured in every way" but remain free to live for Christ in every choice. The second (v. 8) is when parents have no clue what to do, but still do not despair.
7 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 8 We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9 we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (HCSB)
The third situation (v. 9) is one in which parents are "persecuted." The Greek word here describes being "pursued in order to be oppressed or harassed." Paul uses this very word in Philippians 3:6 to describe his pre-conversion assault on the Church in which he sought out Christians and killed them. How are parents "persecuted" and how does this verse teach parents to train up their children as God would train them? There may be times when a parent's faith is attacked by a teen, teacher, principal, parent, co-worker, or church member. The attack may be directed toward the parent's character, a particular decision, method of parenting, or moral position. Regardless of the details, there will be times when the parent is attacked for doing what he or she believes to be the biblical, Christ-like, God-glorifying thing to do. When attacked, the immediate response is to become defensive, to justify the alleged offence, or to distance the accuser. Paul, however, gives some good news about what parents can do when attacked, and how they can use this life-situation for the glory of God and the good of their teen.
Paul says when being attacked, we are not "abandoned." This word "abandoned" is the same word Jesus used on the cross when he cried out "My God, My God, why have you FORSAKEN me?" The promise we have is that we can be satisfied in the midst of an attack against us because God will never "leave" us or "forsake" us, especially when attacked (Hebrews 13:5). Those who are persecuted for doing what is right are actually blessed (Matt. 5:10). How can this be? Their hope and focus is on the fullness of salvation when there will be no more false or misdirected accusations. Every justified accusation against us is absorbed by Christ in His death. The God whose kingdom is permanent is present in the midst of every unjustified accusation.
So be transparent with your teens when under attack for doing what is right. Let them learn your dependence on the sufficient work and presence of Christ. Christ was abandoned in your place so that you would never have to endure the accusations without the Advocate, Jesus Christ. Allow your teen to see your weakness so they will learn the sufficiency of God's extraordinary power.