CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Be Holy and Acceptable to God
By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady
In his book, Parenting Isn't for Cowards (Word Publishing, 1987), Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family tells of his friend Jim's nightly bedtime battles with his five-year-old son, Paulie:
"Now, Paulie, things are going to be different tonight. I'm walking out the door and I don't intend to come back. Don't call me again until morning. Do you understand?" Paulie said, "Yes, Daddy."Often with our Heavenly Father, we rationalize, compromise and mis-prioritize in order to get what we want, even to the point where we'll accept the consequences. Sure, we'll read His Word, hear His voice, and may even promise to obey. But instead of doing as He says, we'll test the limits of His patience and mercy. We'll beg and bug Him or just straight out rebel against Him without a second thought to the real threat of consequences.
Jim told his son good night and left the room. Sweet silence prevailed in the house. But not for long. In about five minutes, Paulie called his father and asked for another drink of water. "No way, Paulie," said his dad. "Don't you remember what I said? Now go to sleep."
After several minutes, Paulie appealed again for a glass of water. Jim was more irritated this time. He spoke sharply and advised his son to forget it. But the boy would not be put off. He waited for a few minutes and then re-opened the case. Finally, he said, "If you ask for water one more time, I'm going to come in there and spank you!"
That quieted the boy for about five minutes and then he said, "Daddy, when you come in here to spank me, would you bring me a glass of water?"
It's probably because accepting the consequences seems so much easier than obeying. Plus, our insistence on having our way blinds us to our prideful game-playing. "Who cares if I get a spanking," little Paulie could have thought. "If that's what it takes to get what I want I'll get over it. I just wanna win!"
However, unlike Paulie's dad who gave in to his child without the promised spanking, our Heavenly Father "don't play that" with us. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). Let's not rationalize, compromise, or mis-prioritize when it comes to our attitudes and conduct in life as children of our Father in heaven. Let's not take the often easier route of accepting the consequences just so we can "win." Let's not be deceived. In little Paulie's case, was it really about being so thirsty, or was something else at work? Let's not play a game of wits with Almighty God. We ultimately win nothing with prideful stubbornness.
Fortunately, the principle of reaping and sowing works both ways: Weary not in well doing; for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not (Galatians 6:9). Let's be holy and acceptable to our Heavenly Father, which is our highest priority as His children. Let's be transformed by the renewing of our minds about having our own way, so that we may truly "win" by living according to His perfect will.
Image Credit: *credro*; "Nightstand"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | God-Father | Sin-Evil
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Published on 1-5-16