Showing Your Kids What God Is Like is a topic I plan on revisiting throughout the life of this blog for the sake of parents who aspire to be a powerful tool God uses in bringing their children to faith in Christ. These posts are for parents who understand that they can’t save their kids, but at the same time understand, as Paul Tripp has said, that they are responsible for “setting up the transaction” between God and their kids (Getting to the Heart of Parenting). Parents, we help to set up this transaction through teaching our kids the gospel and explaining the word of God, but we also do this by demonstrating the character of God in our own character as we parent them.
The humility of Jesus in the Incarantion is an aspect of God’s character we can demonstrate pretty easily if we will occasionally abandon the dignified reputation we adults try so hard to maintain. The Gospel of John tells us, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (1:14) and Paul writes in Philippians, “although [Jesus] existed in the form of God , [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men” (2:6-7). God the Son came down from heaven into our sin-saturated world as one of us. He didn’t come down as a king or even a governor or some other important official, rather, he came as a commoner, lived more like a peasant than any of us ever will, and then gave himself up to be murdered for our sakes at the hands of sinners.
How can we, as parents, show our kids the humility of the Incarnation? First, we need to play with our kids as one of them. Put yourself into their imaginative games and the silliness of their pretend role-playing. Get on your knees and sneak around the house with them as you pretend to be big game hunters in the Australian Outback. Pretend the swings in the backyard are spaceships and it is the responsibility of you and your kids to maintain intergalactic peace in the face of the evil emperor Zurg.
Second, do normal, everyday things with your kids as one of them. Go with them to their cozy spot to read them a book instead of making them come to you. Eat at the kids table where your knees touch your chin. Last night my kids and I were at the mall and although I wanted to sit at the adult-size table in the food court, the Lord brought the humility of Jesus to my mind, so I sat with my kids at the munchkin tables and we had a great time together.
Third, hurt with your kids as one of them. What I mean by this is for us to sympathize with our kids in their pain as Jesus does with ours because he became one of us (Hebrews 4:15). So, even if you are tempted to think that the pain your kids are experiencing (whether physical, mental, or emotional) is insignificant, this means that the amount of compassion you show should come from you trying to see things from their perspective instead of yours. I have a tendency to tell my boys to just “man up”, and I know that if Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth to the cross for me, much more sacrifice and effort needs to be done on my part to bring them out of their pain.
Parents, if we will do these things, it will be easier for us when the time comes to teach the Incarnation and humility of Jesus. Teaching and demonstration go hand-in-hand.