I remember sitting around the dinner table as a young boy listening to my father's shenanigans as a teenager-everything from pretend fights to stir up attention to unmentionable things regarding dummies and moving cars. The stories would be told time and time again. And never did we tire of hearing about or laughing at them.

As it turned out, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree. The pranks I loved to listen to as a boy were picked up, amplified and implemented in a whole new way as I hit my teen years. And on the few occasions where I got in trouble, my father could scarcely keep a straight face as my mother scolded me. During one particular scolding, I remember him covering his face to hide his laughter.

Now I'm a father. And my family loves reveling in the stories of my former shenanigans. I didn't think too much of it until one of my children - formed by the tradition of prank-reveling - placed a bloody lamb heart, absconded from biology, into a girl's lunch bag. Let's just say ... the administration didn't take too kindly to the "fun." As it turns out, my apples aren't falling too far from my tree.

I suppose some might say that the urge to prank is a genetic trait - some would call it a defect. Upon reflection, I think it has more to do with what formed me as a person than genetics. What we revel in, or what the Bible calls "glorying in," is contagious. What we glory in we find attractive, desirable and enjoyable. It draws us in to the experience of others and forms us to become and do the same. Glorying in pranks begets prank-lovers.

My point is not to analyze the merits or demerits of pranking (I'm still one at heart). It's simply to point out that what we revel in as parents, or people, will have an unconscious effect on those who look up to us. It will form them to love what we love.  

What this means for us as Christians is simple. One of the most powerful things we can do as for ourselves and others is to "Glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:3). Instead of telling people to love Jesus, we would do far better to simply revel in him. Let him become the enjoyed center of conversation around the dinner table. Speak of him. Enjoy the stories of his power and love. And in so doing, we will beget Christ-revelers. Why? Because we are formed by as we "glory in." And others are formed as we "glory in."

(Originally published September 23, 2014)

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