When my kids were little, they fueled analogies for my spiritual growth. And I could actually write about them.
Now that they’re older I must be careful, because they actually care when I write about them, haha. But this time’s an exception. It’s a scenario moms with kids of all ages can relate to, especially me.
Last weekend my son threw a surprise 16th birthday party for one of his closest friends. It was lively, special and by the end they were wired. To add to the fun, the birthday friend got to spend the night. We told them they needed to go to bed by midnight, though, because otherwise the whole weekend would be a bust. They agreed, though a bit disappointed at the non-thrill of not pulling an all-nighter. I think that would’ve been the cherry on top of the birthday cheesecake, at least in the moment.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up at 2:45 in the morning and still heard their voices! Not happy. But they were in bed. I had assumed the friend would go to the guest bed and my son would go to his bed like normal, but instead my son had tossed a sleeping bag beside the guest bed.
But they were IN bed by midnight, just like I had asked. I knew that moment that they were taking a loophole. They knew I meant “go to bed in order to get to sleep,” but all I had said was “go to bed.”
It took me a few hours to get back to sleep, but in those long minutes God in His goodness turned the situation around on me. How many times do I know what God means and twist it to do what I want? How often do I joyfully obey some of His commands and not others? Even greater, it’s unmentionable how regularly I justify my behavior to my Father in heaven, knowing full well that He knows my motives fully. I often choose to take a loophole.
I’m thankful He is quick to forgive and that He allows me to call upon His mercies when my heart isn’t fully devoted to Him and His ways. Oh yes, I am! It’s not about legalism, it’s not about condemning myself to guilt so I end up curled in a ball on my hands and knees for days in disgrace…it’s about the motive and longing of my heart.
I understand why the boys did what they did, and we let them off the hook (just as they knew we would since it was a special occasion). Not without discussing the heart of the matter, though. That’s always fun for 16-year olds to listen to. 😉
The bottom line: Have we allowed our relationship with God to become partially in step, justifying to ourselves whether or not we technically obeyed or did what His Word says for the most part…”But God, I did what you said!” Or do we continue in our earnest desire to love Him fully with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, knowing He will train and equip us in how to live it out?
The more I know God, the more I love Him. And the more I love Him, the more I long to be like Him. There are times I don’t feel like loving Him. There are times I obey Him just because I don’t want to feel guilty tomorrow or to look good in others’ eyes, ugh. There are times I don’t obey Him and then beg for mercy later. There are times when my heart is not fully devoted to the only One deserving of it, no question.
But today, it’s my earnest desire to desire and know my Lord and Savior fully. And as far as I know, today is all I have. Spend it with me reflecting on these Truths from God’s Word:
My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.
1 Corinthians 7:35
I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
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