Nice, Revisited. {God is Truth. Satan Lies.}

"I don't want my kids to be nice."  So says Lori at Everyday Truth in her new series, No More Nice Kids.  Before you start thinking bad things of her...it's not what you think!  She's a Christian mom striving to raise Godly kids.  But God is teaching her that "nice" isn't all its cracked up to be.  Go read her posts.  They are really, really good.

As I've read her posts this week, her words have really resonated with me.  Although her posts on the subject are much more in-depth, I've posted some similar thoughts here previously. I thought I would pull some of those thoughts today as part of the {God is Truth. Satan Lies.} series.  "Be nice," is one of those lies Satan tells, and it's one that well-meaning parents often pass on to their children.

Here are some thoughts I've posted on this in the past, interspersed with some current thoughts: 

"The ethics of Jesus cannot be obeyed or even understood until the life of God has come to the heart of a man or woman in the miracle of the new birth. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in those who walk in the Spirit. Christ lives again in His redeemed followers the life He lived in Judea, for righteousness can never be divorced from its source, which is Jesus Christ Himself!"
 ~ A. W. Tozer

The truth expressed in this quote is one that I have become more and more convicted about in recent years.  "Righteousness can never be divorced from its source, which is Jesus Christ Himself!"   It's been a bit of a backward lesson for me...one that originally started as a conviction about raising my children, and then morphed into the realization that the best way to raise my children that way is to live it myself.

That conviction was that my goal must not be to raise "nice" children, or "well-behaved" children, or "good" children...but that my goal must be to raise children who are seeking after Him with all their hearts...children who are totally sold out to following Him.   That has been reinforced so many times in the last few years.

 Being "nice" and "good" and "well-behaved"  can all be good things...for children and adults.  But if we...or our children...stop there, we have stopped in dangerous territory. 

"Being good" is not the same thing as being righteous.  And only when we are made righteous through the blood of Christ are we truly saved.  Only when we have His righteousness in us are we able to obey and follow Him as He commands.  Only through our relationship with Him, seeking Him with all our hearts daily, are we able to then live out a life that reflects Christ.  

Romans 3:10 tells us that "There is none righteous, no, not one."

We are told in Isaiah 64:6 that *our* righteousness is as filthy rags.  If we try to "live like Jesus" or "be good" on our own...the end result is filthy rags.  

Just this week I ran across this quote by C. S. Lewis (posted on Facebook by Randy Alcorn)...

C.S. Lewis: "'Niceness'—wholesome, integrated personality—is an excellent thing. …But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save."

In other words, we (and our children) can become so comfortable in our "niceness" that we completely miss the true goal.  "Niceness" is not the goal...for us as adults, for our children, for our neighbors.  The goal is transformation that can only come about by the Holy Spirit in us.  Then we will demonstrate His goodness...and all the things that come with it...through His righteousness in us...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
~Galatians 5:22-23

My primary goal is not for my children to excel academically...although I do want them to excel academically. My primary goal is not for my children to be well-behaved in public...although I certainly want them to be well-behaved in public! :) My primary goal is not even first-time obedience with a respectful attitude...although that is a crucial foundation stone and a vital goal.

My primary goal is for my children to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Only if they truly love Him and have a personal walk with Him as not only Savior, but also Lord of their lives, will they truly be the successes that He...and I...want them to be. No matter what they look like on the outside, no matter how intelligent, polite, and "successful" they appear to be...if they haven't given their hearts to Him completely, it is all for naught. 
What are your goals for your children?  For yourself?   I'd love to hear about them in the comments.  

{God is Truth. Satan Lies.} is a new series on Ponderings of an Elect Exile.  You can read more about it here.   

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