I’m trying my best to tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD (Ps. 78:4) and also to tell them not to follow the bad examples of the generations before them (Ps. 78:8). As we work our way through the pages of Scripture, we come along stories that challenge me concerning how I teach them to young ears.
Bedtime routines are always fun. Sometimes I feel like I am herding cats getting all the teeth brushed and clothes laid out for the next day. After all the festivities, we try to get in the Word before they go to bed.
Sometimes at night we will let the boys choose a Bible Hero card to pull out of the pile and Dad has to teach them the story on the spot. It’s fun. We read through the Bible chronologically, but from time to time this allows for a fresh way to keep them engaged.
The other night, Obadiah pulled out Samson’s card. The cartoon picture had Samson chained to some columns that he was pulling down with his last bit of strength.
“Dad, why was Samson chained to those polls?”
“Well, son, Samson seemed to be plagued by what certain therapists would call a sexual addiction…”
OK, that was the first sarcastic joke that came to my mind, but I refrained. Here was the actual exchange:
“Well, buddy, Samson had a miraculous birth. His mom was unable to have children, but God gave her the gift of having Samson. He was set aside before he was even born that God was going to do something special with him. The problem is he really liked the wrong type of women.”
“What is the ‘wrong type of women?'”
“He fell in love with a woman who didn’t love God.”
As he uses the palm of his hand to slap his forehead, he replies, “Oh, the indignity!”
1. I don’t know where he started using the word “indignity,” but it kind of made me proud and intimidated all at the same time (he said that Gordon the Train says it).
2. He understands something at 5 years old that a lot of adults haven’t realized yet – our closest relationships greatly effect our most critical relationship – our relationship with God.
Paul said that a Christian is not to marry a non-Christian (2 Cor. 6:14). We are to understand that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). And even if you love that person, it is going to be difficult to love God next to a person who doesn’t desire the same thing.
What if you are already married to an unbeliever? Stay married (1 Cor. 7:10). Honor your vows and pray that God may use your behavior and example to change their heart (1 Pet. 3:1).
What if you are currently dating, engaged, or interested in someone who is an unbeliever? Break it off. To endure in this life, you need to set yourself up where you can have undistracted devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:35). Someone who believes differently than you can turn you away from following after God and serving another god (Deut. 7:3). While it hurts and you may be lonely, there is something worse than being single – being married to someone who does not wholeheartedly love Jesus and help you to do the same.
By the way, if you see warning signs now, it will get worse when you marry. Yellow flags morph into red flags as soon as the honeymoon is over. If you can’t get them to come to church, talk about spiritual matters, fight for purity, and follow God in their lives now, you will have an even more difficult time once they have signed on the dotted lines. Once you become married, you get to see them for who they truly are and they know it is more difficult to back out of it then.
Oh, the indignity. If you want to love Jesus, it is easier to do it walking beside someone who wants to do the same thing.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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