God’s Word says that there is none good. Your child isn’t good. His heart is evil. But there’s a way to restrain his sinfulness: teach him the fear of the Lord.
May 18, 2022
Have you ever thought about the whistle of a bird? Go outside one morning with the determined attitude to put everything out of your mind, and just listen to the birds. You will hear hundreds joyfully welcoming the morning. Then, zero in on one. Listen to him sing. Think of the complexity of his song. Think about how many millions of birds around the world are singing their own little hearts out with individual and complex tunes every morning.
Then, think of the power of God. How could He first think of and then have the mind to create flying creatures with their own minds that can sing with such brilliant dexterity? And we think we are insulting someone when we call them a “birdbrain.”
I love birds because they remind me of the greatness of God. I think about their wings, their eyes, their amazing feathers, their intuitive ability to create a nest for their offspring. I think about how they are able to recognize their own kind. I think about how they know how to flock together, to stay clear of predators, to search for their food, and to land with such incredible agility that they make a pilot’s three-point, perfect landing look clumsy.
My wife, Sue, and I get to watch birds up close from the comfort of our living room. I put reflective film on the inside of one of the windows and then built a deck on the outside—on which we put bird seed. We then sit back and have a front seat into the world of wild birds—from colorful finches to crown sparrows, cooing doves, elegant California scrub jays, and, of course, regular sparrows. Families of squirrels also drop in many times each day, walking across a bridge I made from the fence to the deck. There, they feast on free food, much to our delight.
“God forbid that we should ever gaze at the sinful pleasures of this world and long to be free from the confines of a life of cross-carrying and self-denial.”
The mirrored glass means we can literally get up close and personal. Even though we are just inches from them, none of the birds or the squirrels know we are there.
Years ago, I added some wire netting and created an aviary for a number of cute little finches we purchased from the local pet shop. I often wondered if the caged birds ever wished that they could be as free as the wild birds who had the liberty to fly into the vast blue heavens at will.
One day, as I was bird-watching, I was horrified to see a hawk swoop in, grab one of the terrified wild birds, and kill it as it screeched in terror. It was a horrible sight. When I ran outside, all I found was the feathered remnants of the attack. Tragically, the hawk had flown off with what was left of the bird in its claws.
An interesting reflection has come from seeing that shocking sight. I wonder if the birds in the caged environment—who would also have heard that awful sound—now see the cage as a place of safety.
Such is the way of the Christian home. Isn’t it true that teenagers can sometimes feel trapped or annoyed by boundaries given to them by their parents? Don’t these parents know that they are restricting their kids from the freedom to do what they want? But what many children don’t realize is that the hawks outside of the cage are waiting.
As those teenagers mature and look back on life in the world, they will ultimately see some of those hawks take lives through alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide, and abortion. They will see the damage done by pornography, fornication, adultery, and much more. It’s then that they will thank God for the love of their parents in providing protective boundaries.
But the illustration goes deeper. Each of us, as Christians, is preserved in Christ, “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). Our Father has given us a cage to keep us from the enticement of sin. God forbid that we should ever gaze at the sinful pleasures of this world and long to be free from the confines of a life of cross-carrying and self-denial.
We are waiting for a kingdom that cannot be moved, one that is saved from the claws of death—mankind’s greatest predator. May we be grateful for what we have been saved from and for the treasure that we have in Christ:
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. (Colossians 3:4-7)
But don’t let your gratitude stop there. Think about the sons of disobedience. Think about how sin once deceived you with its pleasures, and then think soberly of this evil world’s terrible fate. Such thoughts should put wings to our feet. We should daily pray for and run to the lost, pleading with them to repent and trust in Jesus. Their precious life depends on it.