The song “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns always makes me think.
Especially as my kids get older.
Be careful little eyes what you see, It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings; Be careful little feet where you go, For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow.
It makes me think again of a little boy who’s trying so hard to walk around the house in his daddy’s way-too-big shoes.
Of toddlers who say incessantly, “Watch me jump, Daddy! Watch me run! Watch me throw!”
In their little minds I was the standard, what they wanted to be like, who they wanted to be.
It’s humbling, and a little scary.
A lot scary.
Here’s that principle in Paul’s thought:
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).
He’s not doing it arrogantly, of course, but he’s urging these Christians to model their lives after him.
“Just follow me,” he says. “And I’ll lead you where you need to go.”
The principle behind that statement is true whether we like it or not.
Some of the people in our lives are going to practice what they “learn and receive and hear and see” in us.
Our kids will, to a great extent, at least.
I urge parents to teach their kids Bible lessons in home devotionals and casual conversations, and I still think we ought to do that.
But honestly, they’re going to learn so much more from just watching us than they will from listening to us.
Oh, and they’re watching us more closely than we think.
Paul didn’t write this verse to parents, at least not explicitly, but it convicts those of us who have kids.
Maybe God’s Spirit will convict you today with this verse.
Maybe there are people in your life right now—kids or grandkids or friends or neighbors—who haven’t seen what they ought to have seen in your life.
And maybe God’s getting your attention through Paul’s words to humble and challenge you.
Regardless, the Lord is telling us to live our lives so that people around us—who may not know much about Jesus—can get a glimpse of him by looking at us.
A challenging thought, isn’t it?