Okay, what’s the first thing you thought of when you read the word “Government?” Washington, D.C.? The presidency? Legislature? The sweeping results of last night’s election process that undeniably expressed the frustration of the over-taxed, unemployed, debt-burdened masses?
As I write this article on the morning following the elections, government is undoubtedly on the minds of most Americans. After the people’s cry to be spoon-fed and mothered by an ever-expanding civil government, it was evident that there’s a new cry rising for relief from a people desperate to be rid of the resulting heavy burden of overtaxation, unemployment, debt and loss of freedoms. One way or another, people tend to cry out for government institutions to care for their needs and relieve their miseries.
Yet ironically, as Jim Rose (author of “A Guide to America’s Christian Education for the Home and School”) once wrote, “Christians ought to think first of God, not man, when thinking of government. The government is upon his shoulders, resting supremely with the God-head!”
As Christians, we are obliged to consider the government of Jesus Christ in such a way that our ideas about child rearing and our expectations of civil government will be severely adjusted.
According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language, “government” is defined as, “direction, control, regulation, restraint.” In short, government asks, “Who, or what, is in control?”
Who or what gives direction for the paths I take in life?
Who or what controls my thoughts and decisions?
Who or what regulates my actions?
Who or what restrains me from doing evil?
Clearly, the government of Jesus Christ is a force that penetrates every aspect of life and living, with no exceptions! The government of Jesus Christ must necessarily invade the totality of life, and it must define for the Christian what the “Lordship of Jesus Christ” truly means.
Teaching your child that government begins with God starts in infancy. Isaiah 28:9 says, “To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little…” It begins early, and is taught repeatedly and frequently, over and over.
When our firstborn arrived, as I’ve written about before, I soon recognized that I was unintentionally propagating a self-centered philosophy of government by snatching him up and satisfying his discomforts every time he fussed. Inadvertently, I was reinforcing to my baby that he was the center of the universe, the one around whose life all the rest of us rotated. Yet my infant was not too young to begin training in the idea that although he was so greatly loved and I would give my life to protect him and care for him, his life is subject to a government far above his own.
Yesterday, I was chatting on the inbox of Facebook with a good friend of mine who told me that her six-year-old granddaughter was disappointed that God doesn’t always hear us, because she had asked him to take away her tummy-ache, but it didn’t go away immediately when she prayed. Classic! My friend’s granddaughter was thinking like a six-year-old. Like every other child I know, her concept of God is based more upon Santa Claus than it is of a Father who is the King. Her parents’ job, of course, is to train her to understand that as God’s covenant princess, she has a far greater purpose and is subject to a government far above her own. Therefore, God does not always answer her the way she thinks He should when she wants Him to. Unfortunately, in our current American culture, there is a full population of unrestrained adults who are still thinking like six-year-olds, demanding that civil government (or even God Himself) be their Santa Claus, providing all the immediate gratifications that will make our lives comfortable and pleasant.
From the very beginning, the child needs to learn that God, not man, is the center, and that only as he yields to the government of Christ in his life, will order fall correctly into place.
Frankly, teaching a child about the meaning and significance of true government is, as Jim Rose has said, as easy as “1-2-3″.
There is ONE God governing;
He governs in TWO spheres, internally and externally;
there are THREE divine institutions (all subject to the rule of God) where government is properly expressed– the home, the church, and the state.
In the articles that will follow this, I will expand on these basic ideas of understanding what government really is.
Isaiah 9:6,7 says,“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.”
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