I wrote earlier about vicarious man and the perils of such a lifestyle. Perhaps a better example of this lifestyle than the ones I gave earlier is the Children of Israel (COI) as they wandered in the desert. It appears just about none of them knew God personally, He was Moses’ God. When Moses went up on the mountain to worship God, then they worshipped God. Otherwise, He was a God to be avoided, feared and complained about. Joshua and Caleb were obvious exceptions to this charge that I am making but for the most part when we read about the COI they are grumbling and complaining about something Moses’ God had or hadn’t done. Normally, if you have a relationship with someone, you aren’t afraid to complain to them directly. But it’s hard to have a personal relationship with a God you are afraid of and fear too much to approach and, consequently, don’t trust. It’s hard, if not impossible, to have any sort of relationship with someone you don’t trust or talk to. I’ve seen this phenomena fleshed out in some churches which the youth see as their parent’s church and not theirs and so move on when they become young adults. I know there is more to it than just this but the point I’m trying to make is the challenges parents face in modeling for their children a personal relationship with God so they don’t settle for a vicarious one. It’s a problem Paul had to confront in 1 Cor 1:12 where some followed Paul, others Cephas, still others Apollos…..Part of the answer may be allowing them to make some of their own decisions and mistakes and living through the resultant consequences.
But when do we cross that dangerous line from following our parents, leaders to allowing them to think, choose, decide for us?