As a mom, there's an absolutely terrifying trend in Scripture that sends me to my knees all the time. Absolutely sold-out, on-fire, world-changing God-followers have kids that grow up to be half-hearted believers at best. And by the third generation, they were most certainly evil idolaters, so very far from the faith their grandfathers cherished.
So what's the deal? And how can I escape certain doom? I don't just want to love and serve God myself. I want that for my kids and my grandkids and more. I want this to be a heritage of faith, not just passing down what I believe, but hopefully seeing the faith become personal and real to each of my daughters and the children they'll have some day.
Bruce Wilkinson picks up this theme in his book Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs by illustrating levels of Christian commitment with three chairs. First Chair Christians are sold-out for Jesus. Second-Chair Christians are nominally Christian, fitting their lives into the Christian framework, but never really handing over the reigns to God. And Third Chair folks don't believe at all.
It's a handy tool for explaining basic Spiritual concepts like what it means to be lukewarm or what the lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives should look like.
He then moves this illustration into a discussion of what it means to let Jesus be Lord in our marriages and in our relationships with our children. I felt like this was an awkward transition. It seemed to be a book about being a committed follower to Christ and then it was a book on male leadership and female submission in marriage, without referring back to the "three chairs" for several chapters. And then it was a parenting manual.
The section of the book on parenting held powerful reminders of how we need to actually live out the Spiritual lessons we teach our kids. We can't just assume Sunday morning church is going to "save" our kids, especially if they see us living hypocritical lives as soon as we get home and change out of the suit and tie. He also discussed forgiveness and the influence parents have over adult children that could be particularly helpful for those praying for children who have rejected their parents' faith.
All in all, the principle of the three chairs could be a great object lesson when evaluating where we are in our Christian walk and what we need to change in order to grow closer to God. Still, I'm not sure that all of the connections in the book were as clear or as powerful as they should be. To discuss hugely complicated topics on marriage in all of two or three chapters left me asking lots of questions and not finding quite enough in-depth answers. I suppose I was expecting more "breakthrough" in this book.
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