Daily Devotional

Build Your Children Up

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Scripture: And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  Matthew 3:17 (NKJV)

Observation: The verb in the original Greek of the New Testament is put in such a way as to express absolute complacency, once and for ever felt towards Him. The English here is not strong enough, and “I delight” comes the nearest to that complacency which is intended.  God’s words should immediately carry the thoughts back to that Messianic prophecy alluded to in Is 42:1, “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth.”   At the same time, we should not overlook the words that follow, “I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”

Application: We have grown so accustomed to reading the words which were spoken on the occasion of the baptism of Jesus that we miss one important fact.  We think of the fact that Jesus was baptized, although He didn’t need to since He had no sin.  We think of the fact that the three persons of the Holy Trinity were present during that event as God spoke, Jesus was in the water, and the Holy Spirit, like a dove, alighted on Jesus.  We think about the fact that Jesus exemplified baptism by immersion.  All of these are correct and lessons worth remembering.
    I would like us to think, in addition, to the specific words of God for Jesus.  God could have simply stated, “This is my beloved Son,” and the words would have confirmed the divinity of Jesus, or His Messianic ministry.  But the entire speech, as short as it was, is a lesson for us as parents to learn as we seek to affirm, encourage, and strengthen our children as they grow.

First of all, God made it clear to Jesus, and to us since then, that He loved Him.  Even though there was obviously no doubt in Jesus’ mind, as He began His ministry the Father assured him and confirmed His love for Him.  The lesson for us is to affirm our children all the time of our love for them.  Repeat those words regularly, never say good bye without ending your conversation with those words, and even when they do something which is contrary to what you taught them and it breaks your heart assure them of your love for them.  They must know that even if they disappointed you, your love for them has not changed.

The second word from God to Jesus, which we need to learn from, is the word “pleased,” or “delighted.”  We sometimes have a tendency to focus on our children’s misbehavior instead of emphasizing those times when they do well.  One way to reinforce good behavior is by affirming our children when we “catch” them doing good.  When your son picks up his toys, praise them immediately and pray them specifically for that action.  A general word of affirmation such as “that’s a good boy!” does not provide the reinforcement for their good actions that words like, “thank you for picking up your toys!” would.  When she hangs her clothes in the closet or helps set the table, express your feelings of delight and tell her how pleased you are with her actions.

Let the words of God toward His beloved Son be a lesson to us as parents as we express our delight for and toward our children.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank You for teaching us through Your own example how we can affirm our children, and help us to express that delight, love, and appreciation to them often.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.