Patterns: Acknowledging God

Acknowledging God

This one seems simple, too obvious, really. You might say that we all know how to acknowledge God in daily living. But I am convinced, with increasing conviction, that acknowledging the Lord is not only the foundation, but also the eventual end of all living. Allow me to explain.

If we consider the acknowledgement of God a mere exercise in intellectual ascent, the temptation will be to consider it done. Yes, I acknowledge that God made me, the world, and everything in it. Yes, I acknowledge that he has given me everything I have. Consider him, acknowledged - done.

But I submit to you that acknowledging God is much more than mental ascent. Acknowledgement of the Lord must be recognition of him at the surest level of reality.

You wouldn't acknowledge a blazing house fire with mere affirmation of its existence. You would run away from that fire for fear of being scorched and consumed by it.

You wouldn't acknowledge an oncoming wave by standing there in mere recognition. You would brace yourself and hold your breath. Why?

To truly acknowledge something is to admit its effect on you, and to respond rightly. True acknowledgement moves us into a posture and pattern of living before God.

If God is a consuming fire, if he tells the storm to cease and it listens, if he holds all things together by the word of his power, we ought to acknowledge him.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Proverbs 9:10

Our children must know the true pattern of acknowledging the Lord because it is the seedbed for gospel repentance, for valiant suffering, for confident living into the future.

Only in true acknowledgement of God's righteous standard and just wrath for sin, can their hearts be broken and contrite, ready to receive God's offer of pardon in Christ.

Only in true acknowledgement of God's sovereign rule can they believe that whatever he ordains is right, especially in suffering.

Only in true acknowledgement of God's covenant-keeping character, can they actually be sure of a promise made thousands of years ago, that King Jesus will be coming again to bring his chosen home to a new creation.

Don't underestimate the category you are building for them. Show them that it is apparent as the air we breathe, that God is true in all he says and does. Help them exercise muscles for knowing him in the middle of life as we know it.

Some practical encouragements:

  • Acknowledge God in the daily and ordinary.
    Talk out loud about the new day God has made. Thank him out loud for waking you up in the morning, and for the breath in your lungs. Make it normal to see him in everything, beginning to end.
    Psalm 3:5, Hebrews 1:3

  • Acknowledge God in trial and suffering.
    Make sense of your hardship with your children. Don't excuse God as if he had no hand in the matter. Talk about how he ordained even this, and how his wisdom is much greater than ours. This will shield them from a faulty low view of God.
    Psalm 13, Psalm 88, Isaiah 55:9, Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28

  • Acknowledge God in true story.
    Whenever you are reading Scripture with your children (especially narratives), take care to point out God's hand in the situation. Do the same when reading true stories about other people in history. Articulate the way God's rule never turns off - from the true story of Adam and Eve, to Jesus's resurrection, to Abraham Lincoln, to Hudson Taylor.

Building a high view of God may bring about bigger and harder questions about him that may be difficult to answer. Good. He is big enough for those questions,  and he holds no contradictions.

Everything in reality, does, in fact accord with his Word. All of it checks out. As parents, we have the privilege of guiding our children down the most virtuous of all journeys - the journey to know God. Let's dig in.