The Power of Permission

4th in a series

Fathers must recognize and exercise the “Power of Permission,” a vital discipline not only for the child’s development but also for the parents’ peace of mind!

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6.4 (NIV)

“Don’t run!”

“No, you cannot have an iPhone!”

“There’s no way you’re having a sleepover!”

“No! You’re not going outside wearing that!”

There’s nothing wrong with saying “no” to things. Sometimes, there is no way she’s going outside wearing that, and no, he doesn’t need an iPhone. On the other hand, permissive parenting always says “yes” even when it’s not appropriate. Instead, your kids need to see you as a father with the power to withhold permission in their lives. At times, “withholding” has the power to exasperate.

I was looking through our family photo albums one day and noticed something striking in our kids’ baby pictures. In pictures where their mom was holding them, she always held them “in” – in other words, their body would be turned toward her. Always. However, photos where I held them, I always had their bodies turned “out” so that they would be facing the world at large. Always.

I’m not a psychologist, but it seems that there’s a reason for the difference in the way men and women hold their children. A mother keeps the child close, sheltering and protecting. A father keeps the child close as well, but he gives permission to step, run, fall or stumble headlong into the great big world. I believe you dads are the primary permission givers. You’re the one who has the power to say, “Yes, I believe you can!” or “Well, I don’t know, but why don’t you give it a try?” This isn’t to say that mothers can’t give permission as effectively. But when it comes from a father, it’s different. It just is.

Here are two examples, one with my son and one with my daughter. I gave my son permission to wear shorts this spring. Now, we live in Colorado, where April is sometimes very similar to December. If the decision had been up to his mother, she would not have let him wear the shorts, choosing to parent out of a desire to shelter and protect. As his mother, to not feel that desire would deny who God made her to be. But I decided to let him wear the shorts, thinking, Well, son of mine, it’s only going to be maybe fifty degrees in that big old world out there, but why don’t you give it a try? If you freeze your brains out, then you’ll probably learn a valuable lesson, so go for it.

My son is in the early throes of puberty, and he needs his father to give him permission at appropriate times to step, run, fall, stumble headlong or freeze his brains off in this great big world. It’s a very powerful piece of the puzzle he’s putting together in these years of growing into manhood. I was giving him permission to do something that was powerfully connected to the man he hopes to one day be.

I am also called to do that for my daughters as they grow into womanhood. A couple of months ago, I gave my daughter permission to cry. She experienced a loss, and being the middle child she was, well, she was caught in the middle. She didn’t want to do the first-born-be-mature-tough-it-out thing and she didn’t want to lose-it-completely-like-my-baby-sister-does either. What’s a middle girl to do? I sat beside her and held her and said, “It’s o.k. to just cry about it.” And with my permission, she did. I chose to hold her “out” to face the world while still holding her close, and drew from my fatherly repository of country music lyrics: [How can I help you to say goodbye? It’s o.k. to hurt, it’s o.k. to cry. Come let me hold you and I will try.] Daughter of mine, it’s hard being in the middle and it probably always will be, but I understand that, probably more than you know, and sometimes when things or people on either side squeeze you, the you in the middle, then it’s best to just let the tears fall, so go for it. It’s o.k.

I was giving her permission to do something that was powerfully connected to the woman she hopes to one day be, although sometimes it’s hard to hope that from the middle. My “yes” was permission to not be conformed (Romans 12:2) to what this world holds for women (where vulnerability means weakness) and instead to see how a vulnerable heart is an essential part of becoming an Eve, a life-giver, one who shelters and protects as God intended. Her mother could have done that just as effectively as I did, but coming from her father, it was different. It just was. I cried with her, and then she asked if it was too cold to wear shorts in February in Colorado.

I said go for it.

Men, you can give permission without being permissive. There’s a powerful difference between the two. There just is.

Copyright © 2008 John Blase.

Why Does God Allow Us to Fail?

Romans 8:29-30

Yesterday we noted how the Lord at times works our circumstances to humble us. By doing so, He reveals how dependent we are on Him for victorious living. This is how He eliminates the idol of self-effort from our pursuit of holiness. It is also His way of achieving other purposes in our lives.

Our heavenly Father has more in mind than simply exposing the weakness of our flesh—that is simply a means to something greater. He intends to put us on display for all eternity as examples of His grace and goodness. He wants the angels to see the body of Christ and stand in awe before this dazzling demonstration of His handiwork.

What would you and I need to do to qualify for this purpose? Is there any way we can possibly understand the full scope of His designs for our lives? What must be done so that we may live in the fullness of everything He has in mind for His children?

We don’t have all the answers to these questions. As a result, we have difficulty understanding why God at times allows us to fail. If we could only see the glorious final product He has in mind, we would gladly abandon our self-effort and yield to His transforming power. But instead, we often insist on doing things our way. And as long as we remain in this mode of thinking, God will allow us to fail.

There’s a better way. It is simply to live by faith, trusting the Holy Spirit within us every moment of every day to conform us to the likeness of God’s Son Jesus Christ.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)

This is a definitive verse on one of the great themes of the Bible. The preposition “by” is the Greek en, which can take many meanings (by, with, through, etc.) depending on context but is most frequently and most naturally rendered simply as “in.” The baptism in one Spirit is the theme of this passage, teaching us that every one of the “brethren” (v. 1)—those who “speaking by the Spirit of God” have acknowledged Jesus to be their Lord (v. 3)—have been “baptized into one body,” the body of Christ Himself.

This baptism is accomplished in the Spirit for every genuine believer, Jew or Gentile, slave or master, male or female, young or old. Furthermore, the passage is actually in the past tense: “[In] one Spirit [were] we all baptized into one body.” This baptism does not take place repeatedly in one’s life, as may be true of the “filling” of the Spirit, but once, at the time of true conversion. There are only seven explicit references in the Bible to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. All except our text are referring to the initial baptizing work of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). It deals with the ongoing work of the Spirit in all future instances of true conversion to Christ. Since His first baptism of Jewish believers (Acts 2) and then of Gentiles (Acts 11), all—both Jews and Gentiles—are baptized in the Spirit into the body of Christ.

Therefore, let true Christians rejoice that the Holy Spirit has placed each of them securely in the body of Christ, united to Him and sharing His resurrection life, with all functioning together through “the same God which worketh all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:6). HMM

None of them that trust in Him shall be desolate

None of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.—Psalm 34:22.
That ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope.—1 Thessalonians 4:13.
Are the consolations of God too small for thee?—Job 15:11(R. V.).

WHAT shall make trouble? Not the holy thought
Of the departed, that will be a part
Of those undying things His peace hath wrought
Into a world of beauty in the heart.
SARAH J. WILLIAMS.

SHE spoke of those who had walked with her long ago in her garden, and for whose sake, now that they had all gone into the world of light, every flower was doubly dear. Would it be a true proof of loyalty to them if she lived gloomily or despondently because they were away? She spoke of the duty of being ready to welcome happiness as well as to endure pain, and of the strength that endurance wins by being grateful for small daily joys, like the evening light, and the smell of roses, and the singing of birds. She spoke of the faith that rests on the Unseen Wisdom and Love like a child on its mother’s breast, and the melting away of doubts in the warmth of an effort to do some good in the world. HENRY VAN DYKE.

All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee

All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. Psalm 145:10

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. — I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. — Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Psalm 103:1,2. Psalm 34:1. Psalm 145:2. Psalm 63:3-5. Luke 1:46,47. Revelation 4:11.

In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God

In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. — The Spirit … helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. — Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Psalm 16:1,2. Matt 6:7. Romans 8:26. 1 Timothy 2:8. Ephesians 6:18. Matthew 18:19.