Trying to reason with a teenager can be daunting at times. In a beautiful and God-created way, they are developing their own minds and ideas. This is perhaps one of the most painful part of parenting, when you see those things being shaped by the world and not the word of God.
Recently my son and I had a long conversation about what makes music good or bad. In his attempt to justify the non-edifying lyrics of his latest music choice, his argument was the song was good because the beat was good.
As the conversation went on, we talked about a passage in one of the greatest sermons ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount. In Luke 6, Jesus talks about bearing fruit and how good fruit comes from trees that are well tended, with the right nutrients and planted in good soil. These good trees are positioned to flower and feed others with the good things they have, roots on up. I explained that the opposite of this concept is, “garbage in, garbage out.”
The Proverbs echo this truth by encouraging us to guard our hearts vigilantly, by keeping them and protecting ourselves.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) The word “keep” is defined as “to hold and to maintain.” We can keep our hearts free and clear from things that would cause damage to our souls, or overflow toxicity to those we are in relationship with. At the same time, we can also hold and maintain what is nourishing to our souls: what Paul describes as “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Good things like this bear the fruit of goodness in the way we live and love others.
Trees and springs of water are both life-sustaining natural elements given to us by the Creator of this world. As people made in the image of God and designed to reflect his love to a broken world, we are made to be life-giving and soul-feeding people.
In the moment I was attempting to convey this to my son, using the music he listens to as an example, I was immediately convicted about how I feed my own heart.
Sometimes the things I read and the news I watch isn’t helpful for keeping my heart. It’s important to be informed but I must keep in mind the sovereignty of God in uncertain times. Sometimes, I watch shows that I think are downright hilarious, but they don’t help me love others; in fact, they influence me in a non-loving way.
I was reminded of what a gift we have in the word of God. In Scripture, he reminds us that his words are there to fill our minds and hearts with the truth. The Bible clearly teaches who he is, what he thinks about us and how he sees this world. By being fed through God’s word, my son and I can combat all of the toxic food out there, and be fed to feed others.
How does this post challenge you to examine what you’re “feeding” your heart and how it affects you?
Does God’s Word have the power to change how you love others? If you believe that, will you commit to reading it every day? What might happen if you did?