How is it then, if we know we are called to so much more than minutia, do we miss the boat so-to-speak?
The other day I loaded Jada in the van to go to school. The conversation is usually rich on those mornings. About half way there I begin to pose questions about how she will interact with her peers that day at school, etc. We had been studying Colossians 3:1-4 that morning and had made some accompanying motions to have it "stick." As we were going over these motions and discussing the meaning of "setting your mind" we arrived at school. I dropped off Jada and headed home.
Three hours passed and I returned to pick up Jada at Maria Imig's house (thank you SO MUCH Maria). She hopped in the car and whipped out her journal. She carries a little notepad with doodlings of a six year old on her person every school day. This week she had been writing "poems" that are made into songs later on the piano at home. I glanced in the back seat and said, "Jada, what are you working on?" She reads what is posted above (Here is the translation if you can't read it: "Jesus is great, Jesus is good. He helps me just like God. We try to obey but we need help from Jesus. We can't do it ourselves, Jesus is our helper. He helps us obey him."
Now, before you are tempted to think this is an exaltation of Jada and her spiritual musings or Doug and Jessica's parenting skills - let me stop you IMMEDIATELY. The reason this little poem hit square in the heart was what I didn't share which happened just before we all loaded up in the car. We were running late through a combination of individual shortcomings of both Jada and I. We got to the door to leave and Jada "had to get something." I asked her to come... Then I yelled loudly and with a fair amount of anger in my voice. Jada burst into tears but went to the car. The first 10 minutes were SILENT. Jada sat holding my hand and whimpering. I was resolved not to be the first to speak.
I could only hold out so long with a self-justifying attitude of, "well, I am her father and she needs to listen to me when I give an instruction." I had shouted earlier, "why won't you just obey? Is it really that hard to go to the car when you are asked? Obey now and go to the car!" (picture Jessica wide-eyed and Oliver staring at me while all this is happening).
Now, here is the crazy part. Just that morning I had read a few chapters of Luke and Matthew 28. In both instances I was chewing on Jesus' words to his disciples, "...teaching them to obey (observe) everything I have commanded you and behold I am with you always..." I had given her the impossible task that morning, and I have done it often before - I look my children in the eye and tell them to obey without elaborating on the fact that it is Jesus who helps them to obey. We pawn off religion on our children and for that matter our church members when we seek an easy quick fix.
"Your behavior is the problem, not your heart."
That, folks, is religion. This is why I am thankful for the free gift of Grace in Christ Jesus and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. I have NO CHANCE on my own. This story should illustrate that fact clearly. People will often ask me, "How do you counsel someone with _____________ (fill in the blank with any sin issue imaginable)?" I will tell them, though as the story above indicates I struggle with it often, "I show them Jesus." In Luke 17:32 Jesus makes a startling statement, "Remember Lot's wife." In this statement we find a hint at what Jesus expects of us as his disciples and what he desires FOR us to be as Disciplemakers - It's as if he is saying, "Have a SINGULAR focus. Make it me."
The final 10 minutes of the car ride to school for Jada and I were wonderful. The Spirit convicted my heart of the sin present and I looked Jada in the eye and we had a moment of sweet forgiveness. We both cried, held hands and began talking through Colossians 3:1-4 together.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2