by Elyse Fitzpatrick (original post here)
Colossians 1:28-29: Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with his energy that he powerfully works within me.
These verses are the perfect job description for a parent. Today as you interact with your children proclaim Him. Talk about Jesus, his incarnation, sinless life, substitutionary death, resurrection, ascension and intercession. Share these beautiful truths with them now, share how these change their day.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will give you words to say that your little ones will understand. Pray that you yourself will see how He intersects with every area of your life. Speak of a Rescuer that has come to save them.
Warn them and teach them. When your child is having a meltdown in Wal-Mart ask for help to see how Jesus life changes this moment for you and for your child. Paul says this is why he toils, he toils to present them mature in Christ. I know that when I am warning and teaching according to the strength I feel, I either give up and pretend I don’t see what my kids are doing, or I get angry and hope that my wrath will be an instrument of change in their lives. When I am trying to present them mature in my own strength I feel overwhelmed and hopeless.
I love the end of these verses. Listen to where Paul puts the emphasis, “struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and I think of all I have to do today, and think of trying to deal with my children, I just want to give up. I feel tired and sick of working with them, and the thought of having to answer one more question or break up one more fight, or trying to find my daughter who is strangely quiet, makes me want to hide in my bed and pretend like I am sick. But then I read these verses and I am reminded. I am reminded that the work to be done in my children’s lives is to do be done by Him. I don’t have to have the perfect answers, or be the perfect peace maker, I can rest and trust in His work on my behalf and for my children. He is powerfully at work within me. The Creator of the universe. The One who calls each star out by name. The One who knows if a hair falls from my head. This One, is powerfully at work in me. Because of this truth, I can rest while I toil. I can work with my children knowing that I am not the one that it all depends on. I can rest in His work in their lives, while I attempt to help them see Jesus in all of life.
What freedom, what joy! I can go forward today with full confidence that he will have his way in my life and in my children’s life. We can rest in his power together. I don’t have to change their hearts, I can trust in Him to work through me in their lives. When I don’t see the changes happen in their lives that I think need to happen, I can rest in His work. So today I can struggle with His energy. I am sure later this very day, I will forget this and go back to struggling in my own strength, and when I do I can remember the gospel. I can remember that I am hidden in Christ and I can once again rest in the arms of my loving, powerful Father at work within me.
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick holds a masters in biblical counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary. She is a member of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, is a retreat and conference speaker, and is the head of Women Helping Women Ministries. Fitzpatrick has authored nearly a dozen books, including Because He Loves Me, Comforts from the Cross, Counsel from the Cross, and Give Them Grace.