Author, speaker, and parenting coach, Tedd Tripp, is perhaps best known for his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. In chapter eight of his latest book, Instructing a Child’s Heart, I love the emphasis that Tedd places on helping our children to be dazzled by God. He believes all of us have been uniquely created for worship, and worship of God occurs almost as a reflex whenever we’re dazzled by His glory.
Personally, I’m dazzled whenever I witness an awesome sunset, one of God’s colorful creatures, or when I’m standing in the presence of a massive waterfall. I’m dazzled when I read about a bird, specifically a bar-tailed godwit, who migrates 7,242 miles from Alaska to New Zealand in nine days–without stopping for food, sleep, or just a break from the feverish flapping of her wings. Yes, as the Psalmist wrote, “O Lord, how many are Thy works! In wisdom Thou has made them all” (104:24).
Regarding this need to commend the works of God to our children so that they, in turn, will be dazzled, Tedd writes, “Their eyes and ears and imaginations are receptors for seeing the glory of God in all that He has made so they can respond with worship, adoration, and love.” But here’s the challenge.
Because of this divine hard-wiring to be worshippers, Tedd believes “your children go into the world everyday in search of an answer to the question, ‘What makes life worth living? What can I find to excite and delight me?’ We do not have to look far; the world conspires to seduce the heart with cheap and empty pleasures.” He adds, “God designed children for worship. The only question is, what will they worship?”
His point is well taken. All of us will worship something or someone. We may become enamored with a sport figure who displays some inspiring talent mere mortals can only dream of doing. Perhaps a mountain climber scaling the north slope of K2, or a gifted musician capturing our heart through song. There’s nothing wrong with appreciating these things. But such human displays of talent are shadows of a God who “showcases the artistic creativity, endless power, and manifold wisdom” of the created order to point us to Himself. If not careful, our children (and you and I!) can make idols by “loving created things more than God” as Tedd writes.
When we are proactive in pointing our kids to be dazzled by God’s hand at work in the world around us, there are life-changing benefits. Tedd puts it this way: “If you want your children to have a reason to sing on Sunday, give them a glorious God. If you want your children to have a reason not to sin on Monday, give them a glorious God. If you want them to think of nobler things than the latest, mind-numbing video fantasy game, give them a glorious God . . . If you want them to have a reason for confidence when life seems to spin out of control, give them a glorious God.”
How do we dazzle ’em with God?
For starters, Tedd recommends that we don’t feed the idols. Little League baseball can be a good thing, for example. But Tedd would argue it becomes an idol when we duck out of church early to make a Sunday morning game. What signal do we send our children if a worship service takes a back seat to the dugout?
Another tool is to make the connection between everyday life and His handiwork. Take the sunset and God’s inexhaustible pallet of colors with which He paints the evening sky. Or enter into the mystery of how God created every snowflake and every fingerprint differently. Look through a telescope. Gaze into a microscope. Yes, the opportunities are endless to make the connection. The question is whether or not we’ll seize those moments to direct them to God.
One final thought. If I’m not left speechless by God’s glory and power and creative genius on a regular basis, how will I ever help my boys Trent and Troy be dazzled by Him?
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