Tag Archive for obedience

A Word About Enforcing Obedience

The human heart pulses with the desire for self-rule.

Every fiber of our natural being is bent toward autonomy and self-sovereignty. We don’t naturally want to bow to the Lordship of Christ, and even after we’ve trusted Christ, our old selfish nature fights against God’s new standard for us: submission to Him.

Truthfully, the flesh hates to submit to anyone. We get really uppity when our will is crossed or people question us. I don’t like it when Peter questions why I keep the water bottles in this drawer or why I don’t crush my boxes before I put them into the trash bin. When he tells me that I should use this curriculum instead of that one {the one that I researched for a gazillion hours and where were you again during that process??} I can feel that old self, that defensive self, rising up claiming its right to rule the world, and I have to force it back down under the rule of Christ.

 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

The rubber meets the road in the oddest places and over the smallest issues sometimes, doesn’t it? Water bottles, recycling, and curriculum?

Even in small matters, God’s will must super-cede our whims and wishes. God wills that I submit to others in areas of preference, and He wills that I submit to my gentle husband.

And unless we choose to bow to God’s will in the small, insignificant moments, taking drastic measures to cut out selfishness and self-seeking– measures that include repentance and turning from the wrong way into the path of obedience,

and unless the grace of God shines in and prompts us towards a serious pursuit of humility,

we’re going to fumble and fight our way through this life, hurting people, sacrificing relationships on the alter of our own ego, burning bridges, cutting off those who cross us, and elbowing our way to our perceived top.

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So every morning, my job is to de-throne Sarah and re-throne Christ to His rightful place, as Master and Lord. This is seriously hard business.

SO, where am I going with this?

Well, I often talk to frustrated mothers who are dealing with disobedient children, and they can’t seem to see that their sweet child is struggling with the same old temptation we all face: the submission issue. The child wants what the child wants. End of story.

And honestly, the mother is not dealing with this situation well. They’ve gotten into a battle of the wills and the child is driving her crazy and she resents all the TIME it takes to parent this out-of-control child. She’s frustrated, so she takes action. Nobody will accuse her of being a passive mom. She’s armed with Ephesians 6:1 and she uses it like a boss. She sets out to enforce first time obedience and nobody better cross her. She uses threats or promises to control the child’s behavior. She begins to expect outward compliance. She uses punishments and rewards to get a desired behavior. Her moods are all over the place. She snaps in an effort to control. She yells.

Obedience has become the end-all and she’s ruled by that desire.  And this is where it all goes terribly wrong.

To be clear, the desire for kids to obey is a good desire, but it’s not the ultimate goal and it’s abusive to use ungodly methods to get your child there.

In fact, dear mom, more important than your child obeying you is YOU OBEYING CHRIST. Your authority only comes from Him and He has put you in this place to represent Him.

You are His ambassador and your authority has boundaries. You can’t rule any old way you’d like to. You’ll answer to God for your treatment of His kids.

Your authority must be reflective. It MUST reflect Christ. It should bring the child face to face with the Father’s character. It should hold the child’s hand and say, “I’m dealing with you this way because this is how God is.” “God says we all must obey His word, and this behavior is not in His will for you. We can’t bite and hit and hurt others. We must be kind.”

So when mom is not under the authority of Christ and is ruling like a CRAZY–

You are portraying a false image of Christ to your child and undermining all that you are setting out to do. You’re marring the image of Christ and portraying Him as a moody, silent, manipulative, angry, frustrated, or exasperated taskmaster. And you’re harming your child’s soul. (hardening it as well.)

I know parenting is hard. I know it is. But we make it harder when we don’t submit to God’s will for our life  because we’re locked and loaded on one aspect of our kid’s life. 

There’s a lot about training kids online, but if we would just submit ourselves to Christ, our authority issues won’t become central. No, showing your child Christ becomes central.

If you’ve asked your kids to obey for all the wrong reasons, or if your heart’s motivation was all wrong–GO AND TELL THEM and ask them to forgive you. Tell them that you have an authority problem–a problem as old as Eve– and you’ve used that authority in ways that displeases and misrepresents God. Tell them that yelling, manipulating, and the silent treatment are all just adult selfishness and sin.

And tell them that you are working on trying to be a mother that obeys God just as much as they are working to try to obey you, for Christ’s sake.  Tell them that we are all under the authority of the Word of God and none of us can live the way we want.

Then repent of your wrong reasons for enforcing discipline in the home and remember that your number one job as mothers is to teach our kids to glorify and honor God’s Word and to point them to God by reflecting His nature.

Life is simpler when we follow Christ first. Only then can we lead our kids to Christ.

 

 

Four Ways to Thrive Spiritually

Imagine being so spiritually healthy and noticeably thriving, so happy in joyful obedience to the Lord, that someone comes up to you and says, “Hi. I hope you are as physically healthy on the outside as you are clearly spiritually healthy on the inside?” That’s the question/concept Jen Wilkin posed in her Abide podcast, a study through 1-3 John that I highly recommend and have enjoyed immensely.

External health that matched the excellence of your spiritual health. Would that be a scary thought for you?

That’s exactly what John wished for Gaius in 3 John vs 2:

“Beloved, {Gaius} I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”

I often sit with women who know they are struggling spiritually. They want to know what I am doing in my devotions because they’ve been Christians for a very long time and feel that they aren’t thriving. Some of you write because you’re  isolated and lonely and have no one to pour into you. Some are in Christian ministry and are afraid to ask for help. Others just know that something’s off and they’re not sure what to do about it.

This question from Jen is helpful because it makes all of us ask a simple question: am I thriving spiritually?

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That’s my topic today and I want to talk a little bit about a few steps we can take to test our spiritual health. Are we hot, lukewarm, or cold? What do I make of Jesus right now? What place does He hold in my heart right now? Am I living for Him or not?

I want to make clear that actual thriving is not a feeling. It’s not a high one day followed by a discouraging low the next. Too often, women mistake hormones or feelings for good and bad spiritual days.

Thriving spiritually can look a lot like obedience through extremely hard trials where you feel physically beaten up, like your spirit is almost crushed. Perseverance and faithfulness in the middle of trials is thriving, though it doesn’t feel like soaring, and it doesn’t feel good.

If you are in Christ, you know that you’re forgiven, and you’re no longer under God’s condemnation. God looks at you and sees Christ. He not only loves you, He likes and delights in you. So we are not talking about doing MORE to be loved or in better standing with Christ.

We are talking about daily obedience, faithfulness, and what thriving spiritually looks like in the Christian woman’s life.

First, to thrive spiritually, you have to feed on truth. We can’t be healthy and discerning if we are living on and feeding on lies. We get our truth from Scripture. It should be our mainstay. If we are reading books, blogs, articles, or depending on little spiritual shots in the arms from bible studies or spiritual memes on FB, we’re short-changing ourselves and not really valuing the gift of God’s Word.

Second, we need to obey Scripture. I’m probably going to make a few people mad by saying this but Christianity is not a list of mental assents that we simply affirm and speak out about: I’m pro-life, I don’t listen to this, I don’t go there, I don’t wear that, I vote this way. This is such a lazy excuse for Christianity and unfortunately what many people believe makes a “good Christian.” No, a Christ-follower seeks to purify himself from internal uncleanness and to die daily to the temptations of the flesh. She says no to ungodliness through God’s grace–the ungodliness in her own heart and mind. She puts to death the “me first” attitude that plagues her and paralyzes her from loving others well and from pursuing humility.

Third, we need to trust that the Lord WILL lead us, even if times seem “dry” or “mechanical.” Sometimes the intersection of our flawed, human flesh and our heart for God’s Word and ways leave us feeling like we’re not too spiritual after all. We feel lousy and trials threaten to steal our joy. But God will use the days when we don’t feel like we are thriving to work out His will in our life. He does this through His word and by prayer, if we are faithful to Him. Spiritually dry times serve as a reminder that every good gift does come from above and that all of our enjoyment of life comes from Him. Feelings are not facts, friends. Thank God. I am in Christ, and I can depend on Him to finish the work He started in me and to bring it to complete fruition.

When we worry that we don’t feel one way or another…stop and engage your mind with truth. We CAN depend on the Holy Spirit to guide our steps, and to GIVE us the opportunities He wants us to have. God WILL GIVE us anything that is good for us, even this dry feeling. He will allow highs and lows to make us dependent on Him and to keep us from trusting in lesser things.

He’ll bring people to you who need your encouragement.  He’ll be faithful to convict you of sin and help you to repent. He’s trustworthy to hear and answer your prayers and to keep his promises. Faith is believing God will do what He says He will do and is NEVER dependent on my feelings or perceptions about my situation.

Fourth, thriving looks like faithful work and for women, that looks like having gospel-focused interactions with your husband, family, and the younger women in your life and church. Every interaction is a chance to share the gospel for salvation or for sanctification. Who in your home needs your encouragement and guidance? Who in your church needs your encouragement? Who keeps coming to you for help? Take the initiative to take them under your wing and offer help. This is time consuming, I know, and we are all so busy, but it’s one of the most natural ways to influence someone for the gospel.  That younger mom, the struggling one with the unruly kids? Invite her in. We can’t influence or be influenced in a positive way by people we don’t share life with. (I do realize that we can benefit from the teaching of people via sermons, blogs, books, etc…from a distance, but flesh and blood interactions are what Titus 2 talks about.)

This doesn’t take place in a classroom. It takes place as you drive that younger mom to the grocery store or sit with that heartbroken mom as she spills her heart and tears at your kitchen table over tea. It takes place as you watch an older, godlier woman deal with loss and disappointment. It’s up close and personal, sharing life. It’s about giving of time and energy for the benefit of others. There are mutual benefits, because as we speak the truth of God’s word into the heart of others, our own heart is strengthened and encouraged. Who needs to be encouraged by your gospel-infused words mixed into the ins and outs of the everyday mundane today?

We can’t allow ourselves to coast when it comes to our spiritual life, because this thing is a battle and we have to keep gaining ground and putting to death the things that break God’s heart.

Keep an eye on your own heart.

Be in God’s Word to know Him and love Him more–not just to add to a little checklist of facts and knowledge.

Be quick to root out bad motives and attitudes that will corrupt you.

Don’t fool around with sin. Don’t assume that you are some special kind of Christian who is able to control sin or who can toy with it and get away from it. Don’t assume that you are immune to the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Fill yourself more with God’s word than with this world. Because when we read God’s word to see God and God alone, we are sure to find Him, the end goal, the prize, and our all in all.

10 Helpful Lists to Remember from the Bible

Are you a list person? I tend to live my life by paper lists. Right now I have a grocery list, a wedding list, a thank-you card reminder list, a priority list, a hospitality list, a prayer list, and a vacation list in my planner. I write these things down so I can know where I want to go, remember to do what must be done, and ultimately, live by my ideals.

lists

The Bible has some very helpful “life lists” for us as well. They give us guidelines and boundaries.  They give us a vision for the future and cover almost every situation .They tell us when we are out of step with God’s will.

I shared one of these lists with a lady I recently counseled. She wanted help with a relational problem in her family and asked me for a book recommendation on the subject. After listening to her story, I shared one of my Life Lists with her. She didn’t need better communication skills and she didn’t need another how-to book. She simply needed to put into practice the simple truths of scripture. “Be ye kind…let no unwholesome speech come out of your mouth…love one another fervently…”

I’ve found this true in my own family.  No marriage book will strengthen our marriage if I blurt hurtful things to my husband or disrespect him.

A seminar won’t help interpersonal problems if you’ve held a grudge over someone’s head, dwelling on their offenses when Scripture commands us to forgive.

No mentor will help you become a gracious, thriving ministry wife if you are unloving or resentful to even just one of the people in your congregation. Loving others is not optional.

Lists help us gauge where we are headed and can help us anticipate outcomes and consequences. Wisdom would dictate that we take this seriously.

Here are 10 Lists that will help you and give you direction as you seek to grow in Christ-likeness.

If you want direction and an example of a life well lived, this list tells you the good deeds that qualify an older widow for church support:

having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. 1 Timothy 5:10

And if you want to know whether you are qualified to mentor others or if the mentor you are choosing is a wise choice, consider this:

teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Titus 2:3

If you want to know if your attitude is right toward another person:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Eph. 4:31,32

If you want to know if your actions and attitude are Spirit led:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.… Gal. 2:22,23

If you want to know if your actions are wrong, carnal, or fleshly:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.… Gal. 2:19-21

If you need to evaluate whether your love for another person is self-centered or Biblical:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor 13:4-7

If you need to identify and stop your wrong behavior:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Col.3:5-10

If you want to know what your daily wardrobe should look like:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Col. 3:12-14

If you need to know true wisdom vs earthly wisdom:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. James 3:13-17

If you want to know how to grow in godliness:

For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.  2 Peter 5:7

Of course, there are many more. And let’s not forget that there are things we should never keep lists of:

  • the offenses of others against us
  • the failures that are behind, former things
  • worries about tomorrow

If you are struggling with one of these areas, write out these lists as a reminder and post it where you can see it often. It helps so much!

 

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Unfair Ministry: Ministry Wives Edition

Last week I wrote about hard times in ministry. I received more email about totally ridiculous stuff that goes on in ministry, much of it unfair, and it’s horrible and hurtful and my heart goes out to you. A also received several inboxes saying that this series is not just applicable to the ministry but to all women, and I do agree.

But I specifically wrote to my fellow ministry wives because ministry wives often suffer alone and there are certain types of temptations that, although not “uncommon to man”, are often very commonly found lurking in the hearts of good, ministry-minded folks.

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And in order to lead from a position of grace, we need to be aware of the pitfalls that are common in ministry.For instance, because you are a leader, the desire to be respected can morph into a campaign to dominate, demand to be consulted, or to get your own way. Or perhaps, since you end up making many of the decisions about church matters, humility takes a back seat and you no longer consider the needs, sensitivities, or quirks of other congregants, taking the my way or the highway approach, when care and consideration would have been the prudent, others-minded way. And there are too many other temptations associated with ministry to even list.

Ministry wives, life is “unfair” and ministry life is often messy and wisdom would dictate that we keep ourselves in check. We are 100% responsible for our own actions and nobody elses. I suggest that we really *believe* that sin is harmful and that we are blind to our own sin, and we want to avoid it, we need to step back, take heed, lest we fall and “go our own way” becoming a law unto ourselves. Especially in the context of trials. Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. Do we believe this or do we believe that we’re a in a higher class of sinners than the people we serve?

On top of blindness to our own sin, we are often given opportunities or preference that other congregants might not receive, simply because we married a ministry guy. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. God does assign us our portion and lot.

The trouble comes when we accept opportunities that we are not in any spiritual condition to perform or when we expect preferential treatment and get bent out of shape when overlooked.(pride)

Example: I’ve been offered speaking opportunities or other ministry related opportunities over the years simply because I am married to Peter and because of the blog and there are times when I’ve had just plain said “NO.”

Why? Well, sometimes it’s due to seasons of life or schedules, but other times its because I know the condition of my own heart. I know that life has been busy and I should be learning not teaching. I know that I have been unholy and stubborn and I need to learn submission to God before I step out again. Sometimes I forgo writing here because I need to obey more so that my words have meaning when I speak. Anyone can get up and speak, right? But if your life is not matching up, ladies, what’s the point? Anyone can open their home to strangers and serve, but if you’ve been mistreating your own kids and husband, where’s the authenticity and uprightness in that?

This ministry life is not a show or our stage. If you want to impact your home/church/sphere, let the words you speak and claim to love match your actions. That’s the best contribution/legacy/testimony we can give to our families, children, and church.

During trials, the Lord is concerned about my heart and this should my highest concern as well.

“Search me, Oh God” and inspect my heart, and don’t let me dare run ahead of you in speech, ministry.

Let’s face it, if you’ve been in ministry you know that all people are sinful, like the pastor who views pornography and brushes it under the carpet then gets up and preaches, or the ministry wife who makes jabs about one member and then is quick to get up and praise the Lord out of the other side of her mouth. Sin abounds in all of us and the church is not exempt.

Because sin can so easily go undetected, it’s helpful to ask, “If I were not the pastors’/evangelists’/youth pastors’/missionarys’ wife, would I be asked to do this ministry based on my godly reputation, humble interactions, faithful service, consistent testimony? If not, say no.

If you were not a leadership wife…if you were a lay person in the church…would people–

  • ask you for wise counsel based on your knowledge and application of God’s Word in your own life?
  • confide their troubles and assume that you wouldn’t gossip?
  • say that you know how to control your tongue and are consistent to use it to bless bless and not curse? Am I gushing fresh water one day and brackish the next? (James 3:10-12)
  • say my life is described as “moderate”–my appetites under control. AKA… I can say no to myself. Or do I swing the pendulum with my words,moods, weight, hobbies, spending, time, etc…Is moderation a defining quality or do I swing from one extreme or the other?

These are questions we should ask ourselves because others may not ask or enforce them upon us. Most people assume that you’ve got it all together and that makes it even more dangerous.

We know from God’s Word that true wisdom is seen by living out the gospel humbly, without mean-spirited ambition, boasting, or lashing out with the tongue. Passions and desires under the Lordship of Christ.

That’s why TRIALS are so invaluable to our lives. In my experience, it’s during trials when my guard is down that I can see the true nature of my heart. I get a glimpse of what’s ruling underneath and what motives are moving me to action.

How do you respond when someone says no to you or tells you to wait? How do you respond when confronted with your own sin? Are you still able to answer to/submit to other people or do you believe yourself above that? These are the MINISTRY MOMENTS when God is trying to draw you closer to Himself. He’s asking you to throw off your pride, stop demanding your rights, and humbly follow Him.

God uses UNFAIR ministry, ladies, for our good and His glory.

He allows that woman to give you the cold shoulder to test your humility. He allows that callous remark to see whether you’ll love that unlovely one or no. He wants us to obey His Word through it all of the hurt and unfairness.

Or we can respond by running ahead doing what we think will give us momentary satisfaction and, ultimately, happiness, or by running our mouth, causing a “wildfire” of trouble.

Let’s remember Sarah, Abraham’s wife, when we are tempted to run ahead of God and take matters into our own hands. Although Sarah had faith in God, we see that she doubted God’s ability to keep His promise to give her a son in her old age. That one thing she wanted so badly…and she allowed discouragement to linger and unhappiness to blossom until she took matters into her own hands.

That’s why we CAN’T look at our circumstances. To focus on our trials is to look away from our Faithful God.

Looking to our circumstances too long breeds doubt, despair, discouragement, depression, cynicism, and a sour spirit. Have you ever blurted something and realized how SOUR it was!? I have!

When we look to the Lord, and remember that HE IS OUR PRIZE AND GOAL, we experience the joyful anticipation of His PROMISES.

Scripture is full of examples of people in serious trials who reacted in a godly manner and God’s answers are always the same:

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27 and

“Has the Lord’s arm been shortened?” (Numbers 11:23)

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14)

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31)

Sarai took matters into her own hands and ran ahead of God because she ultimately doubted God and despised His timing.

We all know the disastrous result of that decision and can all take a lesson from her disobedience:

  • Whenever we take control of our circumstance in a way that is outside of the bounds of scripture, we are headed for trouble.
  • When we attempt to get what we want using sinful means, we’re showing that we are no longer hoping in God.
  • When we try to escape our problems, we’re saying that God put us here mistakenly and that we must master our own fate.

God’s timing and ways are good. “His way is perfect.”

When God is ready to act, He will.

Your job is to watch your attitude and heart.

Are you living out the gospel in joyful anticipation of what the Savior will do?

Are you trusting and obeying God’s word, staying inside the bounds of Scripture?

Do you see your gifts in life as coming from God or do you demand them for yourself, living life as though God’s short changed you somehow.

Ministry friends, this is the life of faith. Let’s not copy the “take it into your own hands” method of Sara. Let’s leave it in God’s capable hands.

“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” Heb. 11:11

When life’s not fair and ministry is hard, let’s choose to trust and obey!

Teaching Kids to Obey

I was at the park last week watching my kids swing and sipping coffee and I overheard this pitiful conversation:

Mother: “Stop pulling your brother. You’re aggrivating him!”

Kid: Ignores the mother and continues to harass the younger sibling.

Mother: “I mean it! Get away from him!” (running over to the kid to threaten, albeit an empty threat)

Kid: intensifies the harrassment and teasing.

Mother: (totally exasperated and yelling) “If you don’t take your hands off of him, I  am going to CUT them off!”

I sat there is stunned unbelief, because this mother allowed herself to be disrespected, disobeyed and was so frustrated that she began a childish rant about cutting off limbs. I felt bad for both of them.

Neither mother, nor child had an ounce of self control or self denial. They did and said what was best for them at that moment. Imagine living in that home!

Did you catch this article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why French Parents Are Superior?”  While I am sure that not all French parents are superior, the article explains that French parents are attentive to their children, though not child centered, set firm boundaries and expect them to be obeyed, and set aside “down time” for themselves and expect the kids to entertain themselves.

Elisabeth Elliot gave this counsel to her daughter Valerie when she,(Valerie) was feeling overwhelmed by her daily tasks and her homeschooling schedule. She was concerned that her children were not getting enough individual attention because her work load was so tough. After explaining that women through the centuries have always had to spend LONG hours working in order to survive, she encourages her:

The earlier the parents begin to make the laws of order and beauty and quietness comprehensible to their children, the sooner they will aquire good, strong notions of what is so basic to real godliness: self-denial. A Christian home should be a place of peace, and there can be no peace where there is no self denial.

One of the basic realities of life is NO, and a child NEEDS to learn it. (“No, you can’t do what you want, when you want, how you want, my little cherub, because we are all following One who cares about how we live and how we treat each other. Now unhand your sister’s braid, pronto!”)

When a mother tells her little one NO, expect it to be obeyed. Follow through with what you say. If your child refuses to listen to you, how well will they obey what God commands some day?

I had my own struggles with teaching my kids to listen years ago when I came face to face with first born, strong willed, three year old cherub.

  • Rebekah, come here. (She runs the opposite direction.)
  • Rebekah, don’t touch that! (Itty bitty finger reaches out and ever so slightly touches it anyway.)
  • Rebekah, did you just stick out your tongue at Mommy? (Yup. Got a problem with that?)

If they will not submit to your NO, what is the logical end to that? If they refuse to obey you, that snowballs into not obeying teachers, not obeying the law, etc… And someday, our society will tell them NO by locking them in a cell. Of course, it would have been better is the mother insisted that they do the right thing from an early age.

Children need to be part of the kingdom work that you as a Christian family are doing. That means that their little days are not solely about themselves and that they have a purpose bigger than the here and now. And teaching them to submit to a parent (gasp–OBEY!) should be one of the basics!

It isn’t easy and they are going to fight. They want their own way, but you know better! 😉 That is why you have to persist.

Are you struggling with teaching obedience? Are you beginning to think that obedience is not a big deal? The heart behind disobedience is always a big deal. Read Ephesians 6:1 to your kiddos and tell them that in this house, we are going to obey God–All of us! And that you are their special helper to help that meet that goal! 😉

 

 

What Does God Want You To Do?

Today I just want to encourage you to follow God in whatever way He is leading. This might mean;

  • stepping out in faith to obey the Spirit’s prompting in service to Him that is outside of your comfort zone
  • responding with a “Here am I, send me!” attitude vs. procrastinating or asking “Why me? Can’t someone else do that?”
  • or by responding to the Spirit by repenting of some sin you are holding on to. The thing that entangles you; your hang up.

For me this morning, in my devotions, it was the latter.

I was in Psalm 50, where God calls His people together to expose their sin and this is what I read:

“…What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips?”–Why are you paying me lip service?  Why are you quoting my law? You aren’t doing my will or my law.

“For you hate discipline and you cast my words behind you.”– You have no respect for God’s word. You hear and reject.

You give your mouth free reign for evil and your tongue frames deceit.”–A sinful tongue is not okay. Gossip, lying, boasting, complaining…they all have to go. (ouch! see yesterdays post about complaining in trials)

“These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like  yourself.”– your view of God determines your actions. Newsflash! God is not like us. He is holy.

But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. Mark this, you who FORGET God.”–God says that He is not okay with our sin. Living lawlessly is forgetting Him and His word.

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; the one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”–The heart is what God wants…not solely your actions,word or deeds. He wants your heart and your devotion. And a life lived “rightly” is one that remembers God’s will and word.

When I come to God’s word, it should be in order to change. I need to be willing to say no to my own flesh/desires and yes to what God desires. I need to be willing to change, and so do you, my friend. And it is hard, because our flesh looooves to hold on. We love to indulge ourselves and hate self denial (I am speaking of myself here, anyway.)

If you have children and are teaching them about God, don’t fall into the trap of failing to let it change you. Don’t let it bypass you, while you try to teach and apply it to your kids. That’s what the pharisees did. Take God’s word in to let it change you first! Being a “teacher” of God’s ways, but not an actual doer is a real danger and a common pitfall. It is one of the fastest ways to fall into the sin of pride of knowledge while failing to accept the grace of God.

So, how about you?  Is God prompting you to change something in your life? Whether it is controlling your tongue to being consistent teaching your kids God’s ways, just do it.

It is hard, I know. But just do it. Don’t hang on to things that are harmful to you in the end. God will help you to overcome.