Sermon Illustrations - Tag: Philippians 4:9
Posted by Douglas on Apr 07, 2013

Having a six-month old child in the house is very interesting. One of the things that fascinates me is the way he studies us. If he can't see us, he's always turning his head to try to find us (finding Mama is a higher priority than finding Dada, but he does look for both of us). And when he finds us, he watches everything we do.

And he's started mimicking us.

If I blow a raspberry (I call it an "air zerbert"), he tries to mimic the sound (and has become quite successful at the task!). If I click my tongue against the roof of my mouth, he tries to mimic that as well (so far he has been unsuccessful; the closest he comes is to make a smacking sound by sucking his tongue against his upper lip).

He also studies the way we eat, and now that he's taking some solid food, he's quite eager to open his mouth for the spoon.

I realized this morning that I'm recycling myself. I'm taking the ideas, behavior patterns, and attitudes that make up who I am and -- whether I like it or not -- giving them new life in the next generation.

My son won't become a mini-me, and he won't become a mini-Laura; he will be his own person. But so much of his behaviors and ideas will be a recycling of things he sees in both his mama and his dada.

It makes me think pretty carefully about what Paul says in Philippians 4:

4:8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

If I want my son to develop good and godly qualities in his life, I'd better make them an integral part of my life as well, because whatever I dwell on will get recycled!

And Paul follows up that verse with a bit of recycling: 

4:9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:9 (ESV)

What about you? What are you recycling to the next generation? I want to be able to say to my son -- and all the other people I come in contact with -- "Whatever you see and hear from me, it's okay to recycle it in your own life!"

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