Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stubborn Defiance or Sweet Delight

Raising children presents so many opportunities to see how God our Father must feel toward us. Yes, I know He is perfect in all He does and His love far exceeds our capabilities to love others unconditionally, but what a picture He has provided for us in parenting our kids. The last few days, one of our girlies has been trying to push the limits of simple obedience ( I know what you are thinking...they look so sweet and innocent, right?) and I began to think of how when God rightly asks us to do something and outright we refuse or decide we will do it when it suits us, how He must be so patient, yet wonder why it is so difficult for us to just obey with a "sweet spirit". That's one of our parenting phrases here in the Denen house: "You are required to obey and it must be with a sweet spirit or it's not obedience." They always have the choice to disobey, but it will come with a consequence. It will not be ignored, lest the authority of our word becomes null and void. Obedience brings blessing. Disobedience blocks the blessing for a time. You choose. We know that as parents, that when we are asking or telling a child to do something, we have good motives because we love them and we know those things are good for them.We would not ask them to do anything that will harm them. Our motives come from wanting them to have a clean heart, teaching them to love and care about others, or simply to do something because it is healthy for their body. We desire and "pray that all may go well with them and that they may be in good health, as it goes well with their soul" 3 John 1:2  When one of them looks at me with defiance in their face, refusing to do what is asked, my heart cries out for them that they would come to understand how much I love them and want the best for them. Even with the knowledge that consequences will come, they still choose to disobey and get an attitude. Knowing how that breaks my heart, I can understand a glimpse of how much my Father just wants me to obey him. 

Without an attitude. 

Without excuse. 

With a sweet spirit.

How hard is that? Must be hard, since we all struggle with it from time to time. We want to do it our way. Sometimes, we choose to be stubborn and stiffnecked. Other times, maybe we just don't trust God that He knows what He's doing. Do we think He is just being mean? Oh, how he loves us. He has such good things in store for us; and He only asks us to obey, 

with a sweet spirit, 

without excuse, 

and with a great attitude.

Oh, that we will all pray: Lord, rid me of my stubborn defiance and let me experience sweet delight in following you.