“Look at me, Kiki!”
Noah waived with one hand as he peddled past.
Only a week prior, this four-year-old had wanted his dad’s hand resting firmly on the back of his bike. Today, my grandson was showing me how he could ride with only one of his own.
Within a matter of days, Noah had gone from self-conscious to self-assured.
I have a spiritual side of me that is much the same – yet without the level of cuteness.
It usually goes something like this:
I come to the end of my rope, back myself into a corner, or just make a bad decision.
Lacking wisdom, I moan and whine to God, worrying and wrangling my prayers.
Finally, in desperation, I offer Him my mustard seed of faith and watch His wisdom unfold in the midst of my mess.
For a few days, I stand amazed at His provision. But gradually, as time passes, I begin to pat myself on the back for the fine way that I maneuvered the difficult days.
“I’m a pretty sharp cookie after all.”
As ugly as it sounds, James affirms this to be an age-old problem.
But, if we stay in this mind-set, we are assured of yet another fall.
What self-confident idols are sitting on your shelf?
A well-respected job?
A personality that attracts others?
But, ‘fess up. You know deep inside that your future isn’t your own.
What if we filtered every boast through a prayer? Would the thoughts filling our hearts be comfortable at the feet of Christ? Do we glory in the Giver or the gifts?
James not only encourages, but commands us to make sure our glory is focused on the heavenlies, not on the earth.
Paul reiterates the same concept in Colossians 3:1-2: “…keep seeking the things above, where Christ is…set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Wouldn’t this be a great example to children as well?
“Wow, Noah. You are doing great at riding your bike. I like seeing your joy.”
“Gee Felicity. I like the gentle way in which you play with your baby dolls.”
“Joshua, putting the puzzle together took a lot of patience. I’m proud of your persistence.”
“Judah, you are so funny. You not only make me laugh, but also show me lots of love. I appreicate that.”
Your mentees can benefit from Kingdom focus as well.
Purposefully praise items of character, not just particulars like grades, sports achievements or clothes. Otherwise, you may find yourself forming them into your own image rather than that of Christ.
“This is what the LORD says: Don’t let wise people brag about their wisdom. Don’t let strong people brag about their strength. Don’t let rich people brag about their riches. If they want to brag, they should brag that they understand and know me. They should brag that I, the LORD, act out of love, righteousness, and justice on the earth. This kind of bragging pleases me, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24
How do you boast in the Lord? What practical ways do you encourage Kingdom focus within your circle of influence?