Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Titus (Pt. 3)

Over the last couple of weeks we have been traveling. On the way back home from Missouri, Titus asked Amber a great question. He wanted to know what "hate" meant. Amber answered his question and this is the dialogue that followed...

Amber: We should not hate people, but one thing we should definitely hate is sin.

Titus: Yea. Sin is like a bug in my heart that flies around. (He thought of this word picture on his own...sweet deal)

Amber: Hmm (what else would you say to a 4 year old that just made a comment like the one above)

Titus: Yea. Sometimes I say, "SIN! I HATE YOU!" (that would definitely be loud tones he used).

On to another story...

Since Titus has been little I have tried to use words such as "persevere" when he gets frustrated and then I have explained what I meant.

So, yesterday Titus and I were playing a game called "Ants in the Pants". The point is to make the ants flip up into the pants of a dog. Anyway, we would wait until the other person would get an ant to go in the pants of the dog and then the other person could go.

I was trying and trying, but I kept missing. Just at that time Amber came walking in the house and hears Titus saying, "It's alright Daddy, just keep persevering."

What words! He gets it! Later on he was having the same problem and just looked at me and said, "I guess I should just persevere". I gave him some encouragement, told him that I loved him, and sat right by him as he tried and tried, until he made it.

I pray both of these stories can give you some encouragement today from the mouth of a 4 year old. I also pray you would be encouraged to learn from everyone you come in contact with during the day.

As I have been thinking about these stories, the following things have come in my mind. God's call for us to persevere comes from a disposition of love. This disposition of love has a great focus on a total hatred for sin also. It is a both/and deal, not either/or. For us to properly persevere and rest in His love we must have a total hatred for sin.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What Titus is teaching me (Pt. 2)

Last night Amber put Titus to bed. Every night we read his Bible and then say the same exact blessing over him. Last night was the story of Jesus washing the disciple's feet. Here is the conversation that ensued:

Titus: You know what mom? Sometimes I am dirty inside.

Amber: Oh Yeah?

Titus: But sometimes I am clean on the inside.

Amber: Oh Yeah? How do you get clean?

Titus: (In a matter of fact tone) Jesus cleans me!

Amber: How do you know Jesus cleans you?

Titus: (in an even MORE matter of fact way) The Bible, Mom!

What a profound statement. He understands that he is "dirty", but also does not despair in his "dirtiness". He has not despaired to the point of depression because of his dirtiness.

Side note, I know some of you may be thinking, "What can a 4 year old really understand? Does he actually know he is dirty?" I would say that I do believe he can understand. He may not fully understand, but he can get it.

I have been reading Spiritual Depression by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (it is a must read). He makes a statement that has blown me away. Lloyd-Jones said that one of the reasons people become spiritually depressed is because they define themselves by their past. He said this must be dealt with very firmly and goes on to say, "He is the Judge and you have no right to waste His time or your own time and energy condemning yourself."

What a powerful statement! What a guard against making much of yourself (condemning yourself is a prideful sin). Yet, this provision allows us to see that He tells us to not meditate on our past (in a condemning way) because He has redeemed our life!

Titus taught me this in his statements to Amber because he recognized his need for a Savior, but this need did not lead to despondency (in a bad way). He also recognized his need for the Word in order to know about Jesus. Jesus does tell him that he is dirty inside, but it does not end in that desperation. Jesus tells him so that he can know "the clean way".


Friday, October 3, 2008

What TItus (our 4 year old son) is Teaching Me...Pt. 1

A couple of weeks ago Titus and I were getting in an elevator and Titus said some profound words. We were the only people on the elevator and Titus throws himself on the ground, looks up at with a smile, and says, "Daddy, I love being small!"

He proceeded to just lay on the elevator floor until we reached where we were going and then he ran out when the doors opened.

For some reason his words stopped me in my tracks and taught me something great about God. The exclamation of Titus did not make him think that he had no value...remember, he had a smile on his face. His words caused him to feel relieved. They caused him to feel comfort. They allowed him to run for joy off of the elevator!

So many times it has been easy for me to use the falsely pious words of, "I am nothing". For so long I thought this would lead to some form of breakthrough with God. One of the problems of this thinking is that we are made in the image of God. If we say that we are nothing, yet made in His image, we must logically being saying that He is nothing! This led me to think about how we can find proper significance.

We will only find out our true significance by focusing on Him and letting Him define who we are. After all, God even knows words before they are even on our tongue (Ps. 139). This reality should allow us to understand that He knows us infinitely better and infinitely more intimately than we will ever know ourselves! What freedom it is to "die to yourself" and understand that you will not only know yourself better (which is secondary), but you will know God relationally (which is primary) and be able to love others better.

The ability of Titus to not make a dichotomy in his thinking that his "smallness" equated with insignificance allows him to not worry about or manipulate what should happen in a day (Mt. 6) because he knows that he is cared for and loved. It also allows him to not have a hyper focus on himself.

These are a few things I have been learning from Titus because of one powerful sentence that he spoke to his Daddy.