Therefore be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Psalm 119:32
I've found in my own journey with following Christ that when I doubt God's love, I never obey Him. If I stay at the place of confession that "i am more wicked than I could ever believe"....I am never moved to obey God. but when I rise up in the truth that "I am more loved than I could ever imagine"...then obedience begins to take shape in my life. My heart desires humility rather than pride. I long for Jesus.
When I realize that I am accepted, justified, loved with a never-stopping, never-giving up, always and forever love (as the Jesus Story Book Bible reads...), I hear God's commands differently. I am set free to follow them, b/c all of them are created in love...my best...God's glory!
When I realize that I don't have to be the most together, best image, perfect friend, and accepted child, my idols fall from my hand and I run to God, my father. While i was sinning, Jesus died for me (romans 5:6-8). What love! He set me free when I could not free myself. He did not set me free to have eternity alone, but to glorify Him here on earth...to do good works. (ephesians 2:10)
As I began to think about God's love for me and understanding my pride and humility...my belief and unbelief. I began to apply it to parenting.....rather training in the Lord.
I tell them, "because I love you, you can obey me." When they disobey, I point out their unbelief...their pride. "You have forgotten how much mommy loves you..." and I remind them of love...humility...and implore them to believe that I love them. "love is to obey what God has commanded" (1 john 5:3)...."children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" (ephesians 6:1)
I instruct my children, that to obey is not my commandment, but that it comes from God first. I am always trying to point everything back to God...His character...His way...His truth...If I can't...then perhaps it isn't necessary.
Sometimes behavior gets worse in our household before it gets better...of course, some still remains worse until fruit bearing age...but more important than behavior modification is something dearer to my heart... that they are grasping truths about the reality of life...God...His purposes for them and us...His purposes for circumstances and the things around them.....His way-that there is no God besides Him.....Truth found in the Bible....Truth about themselves,...they are sinners, they sin...they can never find a way around their sin but through Jesus....and that b/c of His great love, they can be set free to love as well. And my prayer is that from generation to generation, the gospel will be more clear...you see, the goal of my instruction..my charge...is love.. from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith....1 Timothy 1:5
and perhaps a new generation will rise up with my children and after my children to call on the name of the Lord...more later...