Watch this. Then watch it again in slo-mo. Look at how high this kid gets above the rim. It appears that he could dunk on a 12 foot hoops. I wish I had hops like that.
Brian Regan, a comedian, has a stand up bit about the “me-monster”,” that obnoxious person at a dinner party who insists on talking about his or her accomplishments and insists on one-upping any other person’s story. Reegan wonders during the bit “what is it about the human condition, people get something out of that?” (2:39 in the linked video) It’s a prescient question.
I’d like to take the question a bit further. Why do people get something out of that same one-upmanship when it comes to forgiveness from God? “Oh you were forgiven for what you did? Well I did this! There’s no way He’d forgive me.” The me-monster strikes again. Something about that perversity in the human condition makes it more satisfying to win the one-up competition than acknowledge that God can actually forgive whatever it is you did. And I do mean whatever.
Or maybe it’s that you actually struggle to believe you could be forgiven and the me-monster persona is simply a bold face on an empty and fearful soul. Whether it is genuine braggadocio or a false front, the persona is pride. It is a statement that your sin, whatever it might be, has one-upped God’s grace.
But think back to the stories of scripture, those characters littered throughout its pages. Some of us might have had Sunday school teachers that did us the disservice of using biblical characters as mythical heroes. Really, though, they were case studies in the profound grace God has on sinners of all varieties. Adam and Eve, the originals. Noah the drunk and Jacob the liar (and cheat). David the murderous adulterer. Zacchaeus the thief. Mary Magdalene the demon possessed. Thomas the doubter, Peter the coward, and Paul the thug. Imagine a dinner party with these folks trying to one-up each other. And yet these were the chosen ones of God to be His patriarchs, His kings, His friends, and His apostles.
What is it about the human condition that makes us withdraw into our me-monster shell before God, even in the glow of His grace? Is it so satisfying to win a competition where the result is losing forgiveness, losing peace?
At the end of Regan’s bit he talks about how he wishes he was one of the astronauts who had walked on the moon so he could sit quietly at that dinner party by while the one-uppers yacked on. Then, in a pause between brags he could simply say “I walked on the moon.” And the me-monsters would be silent. If a man who walked on the moon can silence his one-uppers, how much more the God that made that very same moon? There is no one-upping God’s grace for it truly is “grace greater than all our sin.”
Spot on. And very, very funny.
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
Nothing concerns Christian parents more than the salvation of their children. And God is concerned even more than we are.
God created the institution of family to reflect his own desire and love for his family. He sent his Son to bring us into his family. When God saves us he adopts us as his children. He becomes our heavenly Father. He loves us as his precious children and makes us joint-heirs with Christ. Scripture is filled with his promises to parents. Promises like:
Isaiah 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
Isaiah 59:21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”
Psalm 102:28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.
We should pray that God would fulfill these promises for our children, our grandchildren and all our descendants. If God has saved you, then you have good reason to believe and hope that he plans to save your children.
Speaking of Paul’s words to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16, Charles Spurgeon says this:
Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Does the father’s faith save the family? Yes! No! — Yes, it does in the sense that the father’s faith makes him pray for his family, and God hears his prayer, and the family is saved. No, the father’s faith cannot be a substitute for the faith of the children, for they must believe also. When a man has believed, there is a promise that his house will be saved. The father should not rest satisfied until he sees all his children saved. If he does rest, he has not believed correctly. Yet, there are those who only believe for themselves. Take the promise as broadly as the Word states and claim from God your little ones as well.” (Charles Spurgeon, Characteristics of Faith, in The Triumph of Faith in a Believer’s Life, Robert Hall, ed, 60)
“The father should not rest satisfied until he sees all his children saved.”
The church father Augustine was a wild and immoral teenager. When he got older, he rejected his mother Monica’s Christian faith and joined a cult. He fathered a child outside of marriage. Yet his mother never stopped praying for him, and near the end of her life, when he was 29, he became a believer. She died at age 56, and said on her death bed, “There was indeed one thing for which I wish to tarry a little bit in this life and that was that I might see you a Christian before I died. My God has exceeded this abundantly.”
Don’t stop praying for your children. Don’t give up. God hears our prayers for our children and grandchildren. He desires their salvation more than we do. If Jesus saved you, you have good reason to believe he intends to save your children as well. Pray that he will save them for his glory. Don’t rest satisfied until you see your children saved. And when he does save them, KEEP praying for them!
I don’t drink decaf coffee. I mean, what’s the point?!? But, I do find it the process of making decaf coffee beans pretty darn fascinating. And maybe just a little bit magical.