Because, it leads to peace and joy!
Do you ever struggle with loving another? What about difficult people? Do you struggle to love unconditionally?
If your answer is no, I'd like to meet you in person and shake your hand! :)
One of our sweeties was struggling with attitude.
We began to share with her that all of our problems, no matter why, no matter what, no matter our past, no matter our present, no matter....... are quite manageable, when we are living our lives according to the gospel.
It is a good thing for all of us to look at ourselves and see why the struggle exists! Are we being stubborn? Are we grieving? Are we wanting control? Are we allowing bitterness in our hearts?
Why do we want to "cling" to these, like well worn prizes?
Simple life, is sooo much easier, and HAPPIER!
And it just isn't that hard!
Life is also the tablet on which lessons are learned! God uses our regular life circumstances to help us grow! His word is our textbook. Got problems? The WORD has answers. :)
If somebody bothers you.... FORGIVE! Why? Because you have been forgiven much!
If somebody has hurt you....FORGIVE! Why? Because you have been forgiven much!
We must live our lives according to mercy and grace. That means, showing mercy and grace to others, even in their imperfections, because we too are imperfect, and God has shown mercy and grace to us!
It is in our nature to try to "earn" love. But God's love cannot be earned. Unconditional Love cannot be earned! There is no way to "earn" it. It is given without condition! It is given with great cost!
That kind of Love changes us.
That kind of love will take the focus off of "us" and put it on what is best for another. And guess what?
When we take the life lens and focus it on others, our eyes are removed from our own problems, and we begin to think about others first! If everybody puts others first, the result is a gospel centered life, that drips with the unconditional love of Christ. 1Peter 4:8 says, "Above All, Love deeply, because LOVE covers a multitude of sins!"
Do you want to have joy? LOVE. Do you want to be satisfied? LOVE.
In the same way, that our response to the gospel of Christ, is to love the one who loved us first, walking in obedience to Him ; when we unconditionally love our children, eventually their response will be to walk in obedience. They will obey out of LOVE, not fear.
When we parent them according to love, they will know that they know that they know, we are on their side. They will know that we are for them and not against them.
It is a picture of the Gospel!
Scripture says that when we hated God, He loved us.
He doesn't love us, because we love Him. He loved us already!
Oh to have the mind of Christ for our children. If we want to teach them about love, we must live it, in reality, day in and day out....
And our children will respond.
But just as we, as Christians, can struggle with doing the wrong thing, and battle against sin, so our sweeties can struggle in the very same way. Sometimes we can forget who we are! Sometimes we can feel overtaken! In Romans 7 Paul describes himself in this very way! "I do the things I don't want to do and I don't do the things I want to do!" "Wretched man that I am, who can deliver me from this body of death?"
And that next verse: 25 says, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
We all struggle! But God is in the business of changing us one little step at a time! And that change is real and it is permanent!
We are not stagnant! Discovering the gospel is NOT the end, it is just the beginning!
Just as Christ leads us to the waters of life through the Spirit and the Word, we can lead our children back to that place of love and safety.
I know our sweetie truly does not like her sin. None of our sweeties do... and neither do we! She truly wants change, and I am so thankful for that!
So when she becomes overwhelmed, it isn't time for us to pull out the judgment tool. It is time for us to love her, pray for her, teach her and guide her gently away from the shifting sands of uncertainty and back onto the solid rock of Love; guiding her once again, to grasp the Hand of her Savior, and help her to realize, He has been holding her hand the whole time.
In Christ alone, our hope is found! He is our life, our strength, our hope, our joy!
This is much of what we had talked about this week. And then, our sweet Pastor Justin hit a home run sermon this morning and solidified everything we had been talking about. We are so spoiled to have such incredible teaching each week.
If you want to be truly blessed.... Listen to this sermon on the Gospel. :)
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)