I've been thinking a lot lately about the way my kids relate to God. I don't want them to see God as primarily the Guy watching in Heaven, waiting to catch them doing wrong. (Like the song from the post title.) When they do wrong, God is there to swat them down.
I want them to grow up knowing that He loves them. I want their relationship to the Father to be natural and intimate. I want them to see that God delights in them. They don't need to perform a certain way or be involved in certain activities to be acceptable to God.
In short, I want them to experience God in a way that I seldom have. I think it's really true that kids form their perception of God by looking at their earthly father. And my father was completely absent. That means that I've often felt a great distance between myself and God. Even though I know that the truth is He is here with me, always. I just haven't experienced that truth in my life.
I have wasted large chunks of my life trying to be good enough, active enough, Christian enough for God to love me. I think that explains my entire career in vocational Christian ministry. I was hoping that God would approve and give me the pat on the back I needed. Of course I could never do enough to feel approved by God, because I've already been completely accepted by God. And not accepted because of anything I did, but because Jesus did everything I needed.
That's why I was thinking about the little chorus in the title of this post. Obviously, my kids need to know right and wrong. They need to know that when they do wrong, they break God's laws, and His heart. But I want them to know more than that. The same God who hates sin loved them so much He sacrificed His own son to pay for their sins. God doesn't want them to perform great Christian works. He just wants them to delight in their Father the way He delights in them.
I know that's what I want for my kids. The question is: how can I create an environment so this can happen? I just don't know.