Category Archives: Content in Christ

Content in Christ: Debt Free – Time

God created time. Time used wisely coupled with God’s gracious provision, enables our children to be content in Christ. It is the universal bank account that puts everyone on the same level. We each have twenty-four hours a day to draw from and invest. At the end of the day, week, month, year, lifetime: what will we have to show for it?

It’s a trade, the most basic of all transactions. Read about successful people and men devoted to the Lord. I dare you to find one that squandered his time. When I was young, I traded my go-cart for a ball glove to a teenage neighbor. I mistakenly thought, “The go cart won’t run, so what good is it?” I didn’t value my go-cart as I should have, and I made a bad trade. Today, it seems, so many squander their time away on poor trades.

Some say that self-discipline/will power is the greatest predictor of individual success, even beyond intelligence. I certainly agree. However, in addition, I have to wonder if the driving force behind self-discipline might be how much a person values his time on earth. Possibly for Christians, the next step up is our level of desire to please our Lord in all things. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Will we teach our children to value their time? Productively using one’s time is vitally important in having the funds needed for life. That is foundational in being content in Christ and that is a powerful motivator for self-discipline. Learning to spend their time productively will provide dividends that those who spend their time on entertainment will not receive.

Follow-on thought for Dads.
We often receive e-mails from frustrated, struggling moms who are drowning in desperation. They know that their children are suffering from lack of a productive home and will have lifelong consequences as a result. They want to believe managing their lives is possible. Of those who purchase Managers of Their Homes, we know that some number will still needlessly struggle to be successful. The book is capable of helping them as it has tens of thousands of moms, but what is missing is their husband’s support. Many husbands don’t value time, a peaceful, productive home, and their family pays the price.

An example is bedtime/wakeup time (BTWT). We often hear how a husband likes to stay up watching the news or movies and won’t go to sleep nor get up at a consistent time. We have found over the years that BTWT is the single, biggest predictor of a mom’s success in managing her day. Yet, Dad won’t inconvenience himself to have the discipline to go to bed and get up when he should in order to be an example, leader, and help to his family.

Valuing time is critical to your children’s success. If you aren’t consistent with BTWT, I would encourage you that it is time to begin. Support your wife by being consistent. Your children’s futures are worth it. Don’t you agree?

Steve

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:16

Content in Christ: A Biblical Understanding

I hope you are being purposeful about raising your children to be content in Christ. If it is just a desire and there hasn’t been any follow through, it might seem more of a wish, than a commitment. Your children are several months older now than when we began this series. Do you have any gains to “show” for this time?

There are several key aspects to consider which come after your example. (I don’t believe you can understate the power of your example.) Next, is the foundation of wisdom and understanding from God’s Word.

A Biblical understanding of God’s provision and overall plan of economy will come from daily time in the Word, in family Bible times, and personal time in the Word. As you read together, look for verses that are applicable and discuss them as a family.

You might also consider buying some highlighters (I love the Sharpie Gels: the link is from Amazon, see our affiliate policy here), and have everyone highlight verses that apply to the particular study. Then there will be rich opportunities to discuss how those passages are applied to life needs. Whenever they reread highlighted verses, it will be a clear reminder of God’s provision. “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 1:2-4).

For example, we just read Matthew 14. Notice how verses 13-21 have great application to this topic. You will be surprised how much God has to say about this subject once you start discussing and highlighting. Look for verses regarding stewardship, giving, money, time, vocational skills, borrowing, and lending. You may have more topics that you feel apply as well.

Steve

Content in Christ: Daily Opportunities

It would be a good time to remind ourselves that the goal of this series is to encourage those parents who are committed to raising children who will want to live debt-free. As we learned, it is far better to be content in Christ than to just be debt-free. Will your child trust Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, to provide for all his needs. Can you imagine what a blessed start in life that would be? Don’t you wish you had had that?

Let’s get real about something. There is no quick-fix, silver-bullet. First there is the heart-work that must be done in a life, which involves a real relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and experience in trusting in His provision. Then we build on that through teaching moments.

This week Teri and I drove to a meeting 5 hours away. Teri’s mom loaned us her car. As I drove that car, I found myself thinking how nice it would be to have a car like that. It was such a pleasure to drive. Teri and I had to remind ourselves that our 2004 Honda Civic is a very reasonable car that gets us around economically. God has provided for all of our needs. He is faithful. Will I rest in His provision or covet in accordance with my wants?

I’m confident you will have daily opportunities to teach your children what it means to be content in Christ. Teach by example that the Lord provides for our needs, not our wants, but there are times that He even blesses us with our wants. That is even more exciting! Praise Him for all those provisions.

Be faithful to continue your weekly meetings and look for weeds in your children’s lives. What are you seeing and what is your remedial plan?

Steve

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (Ephesians 5:3).

Debt-Free Series: Meetings

My son, Jesse, used to mow our lawn. Then I took over mowing from Jesse and began noticing  weeds in the yard. When I wasn’t mowing, I didn’t see them, but once I started spending time with the lawn, there they were! The first step in getting rid of weeds is being aware that you have them.

I recommend you look closely at your children’s lives. Listen to them. How do they spend their time? What excites them? Observe. What “lights them up”? As you do this, you will likely start to see weeds in their lives. Our definition of weeds in the content-in-Christ yard— “activities that consume time or money that are not beneficial or edifying.”

It is amazing how little time many (most?) dads spend with their children. In Keeping Our Children’s Hearts we describe weekly meetings. If you aren’t having dedicated, purposeful, weekly, one-on-one talking time with each of your children, I plead with you to begin. Next to family Bible time, it’s the best investment you will make in their lives.

Weekly meetings will help you experience a genuine heart-connection with your children.  You will also develop a hearing with them because as you share, they will listen. They may not automatically accept difficult challenges from you, but the beginning point is for them to hear your heart. This is critical to being able to redirect their hearts, time, and money. The first step, though, is recognizing the weeds.

“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;
but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
everlasting” (Galatians 6:8).

Debt-Free Series: Weeds?

I was introduced to flying by my dad. It became my passion. I poured every cent I could into learning how to fly and after I got my license in flying itself. At first my flying money came from my paper route and then later from my first job. Any extra money I had went toward flying.

Despite that passion, 35 years ago, the Lord convicted me to stop flying, and one of the reasons was because of the expense of it. The other day at an airport, I noticed a sign that advertised the hourly rental for the plane I used to fly. Can you believe it was $120 an hour? I have no doubt I’d still love to fly, but I’m very grateful to not be flying. I couldn’t justify flying for entertainment then, and I certainly couldn’t now.

Since this series is about raising children to be debt-free and content in Christ, there is a critical question that must be asked. Are there appetites (weeds) being created in your children that will be a lifelong curse? Are there things that will tug at their hearts, rob their peace and wallets by crying for their time and money? If your family is like most, then there are “weeds a-grow-n.”

For the sake of clear communication, let’s define weeds as “activities that consume time or money that are not beneficial or edifying.” If there are weeds in your children’s lives, even if they become debt-free, it is likely your children won’t be content in Christ.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap: (Galatians 6:7). 

Steve

Debt-Free Series: Do You Know The Difference?

Do you know there is a big difference between being debt-free and being content in Christ? I am debt-free, but I am still in the process of learning to be fully content in Christ.

Being debt-free is a financial condition, but content in Christ is a matter of the heart and life. A person can be debt-free and not be content in Christ. While someone who is content in Christ, is almost certainly going to be debt-free. (Notice the phrase “going to be”? If they aren’t debt-free now, I believe it will be the burden of their heart, and they are working toward being debt-free.)

Debt-free is a matter of learning certain techniques and disciplines–being willing to limit oneself because of a commitment. However, that person can still be raging with discontent and be miserable. He could choose to live out his unmet desires through other means. He might still practice poor financial management by spending everything he has to fulfill his lusts.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

As parents committed to raising your children to be debt-free, an even more important question is: Do you desire for them to learn to be content in Christ? 

Steve