Equipping The Generations: Freed To Make Jesus Famous -- By: Brandon D. Smith

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 04:1 (Fall 2013)
Article: Equipping The Generations: Freed To Make Jesus Famous
Author: Brandon D. Smith

Equipping The Generations: Freed To Make Jesus Famous1

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is Director of Gospel-Centered Discipleship and Associate Editor of The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. He is proud to be Christa’s husband and Harper Grace’s daddy. (@BrandonSmith85)

In the months leading up to my daughter’s birth, I contemplated what it would be like to raise a child. I thought, if I can barely remember to put deodorant on in the mornings, how could I possibly steward another life? More importantly, how will I lead her to cherish Jesus? What if she one day rejects the gospel?

I felt the enormous weight of Deuteronomy 6 where God commands his people to teach his statutes “diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Raising an eternal soul was, and still is, terrifying.

The Bible tells us that the home is the most immediate context for discipleship. I am called to love God with all my heart, soul, and strength and to teach this diligently to my little girl. My wife and I have the unique mission of raising our daughter in a gospel-saturated home, reminding her about what God has done when we sit, when we walk, when we lie down, and when we rise. This is a beautiful calling, and totally beyond me.

When thinking of raising my daughter, I’m reminded that Jesus’s call for us to make disciples of all nations can also feel like a daunting task (Matthew 28:18-20). We wonder, how could I tell another sinner about Jesus when I myself am a sinner? What if I don’t say the right things? What if my own imperfections and foibles deter them from believing the gospel’s power? This calling, too, can be terrifying.

Beware The Obsession

I love being a dad. I thank God for my little girl every day. But as with any great blessing from God, the blessing of a child can make us want to squeeze too tight and never let go.

I have already been tempted to shirk the “prefab parenting models” in an attempt to raise my daughter the “right” way. There’s both an internal pressure within my own heart and an external pressure from the world to have a child who turns out perfect. I want her to love Jesus and to desire the supremacy of God above all things, but these pressures, and my inordinate concerns, often command me to focus on her conduct more than her heart. I hear others complain about unruly, bratty kids and I think, “That won’t be my girl!” This can be consuming.

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