“The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—” Philippians 3:2-6 (MSG)
“Don’t roll your eyes at me….” I warned.
“Mom- you can’t even see me,” she smartly stated, “I’m upstairs.”
“I can see everything.” I said.
Eye-rolls can be heard, and whispers can’t hide smart remarks from this mom’s ears. It may annoy my daughters, but I know them like the back of my hand …for better and for worse. That’s what annoys them the most. There is no escape! No remark I don’t have a applicable punishment for. The disciplinary measures of childhood are appropriately suffocating, in order to purge bad behavior before it’s launched into adolescence with legs to stand on. That era will carry enough challenge of it’s own.
Today’s verse comes on the heals of a warning about “religious” people.
“Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances…” Philippians 3:2
This works both ways. Catching an eye-roll from an eight-year-old is one thing, but trying to change who they are is another. Behavioral discipline shouldn’t be confused with changing behaviors that frustrate us.
My daughter moves at the speed of a sloth. It’s absolutely annoying when we have to get somewhere on time, like school …or dance …or doctor’s appts., or anywhere. And in those moments it’s my job to instill punishment for not upholding our commitment to be somewhere on time.
But when we’re not in a hurry, I love her slow pace. She take her time to take in life, get lost in books, and rescue bugs I’m too busy to see. She’s a thinker and a writer, and a sensitive soul.
If I crush that part of her spirit by insulting her character, I risk leaving her to think there is something wrong with the way she is made. Those mornings when I’ve snapped and yelled at her …I really try to stay on topic. And when I totally blow a gasket and call her “slow” or “ridiculous,” I apologize to her. Because that’s undeserved.
Religion has a way of forcing it’s stride upon those who take life at a different pace. Jesus doesn’t. He died for all of us, and knows that none of us are capable of keeping up Him stride for stride. He says, “Follow me,” not ‘Race me,‘ or ‘keep up with me.’ He doesn’t give us a list of character flaws and struggles that are not allowed or feats only some can achieve in order to be included.
That’s why, in today’s verse, we are reminded that “We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it.” Less of us, more of Him. He leads, we follow. We obey, and watch what He does. To Him be the glory.
Father, Praise You for Jesus! Thank You, that by His life and death, the playing field was leveled to include all of Your children. We confess the striving pressure that we place upon ourselves, and pray that You help us to relax in the skin you gave us …and follow Jesus at the pace You’ve planned. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
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