"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

28 April 2014

if you love Me...........

See the picture below??

This is typically used to show a balance of things.

photo courtesy of the strengths foundation
The small group of 6 moms that I lead just finished up Lesson 6 in the Women of Faith study book Living a Life of Balance.

Each chapter is now starting to build on the previous one.  Lesson 6 was all about balancing love and obedience.

The main verse was from John 14:15

I asked each mom to think back to when her child was a 1 year old.  Early toddlers are at the stage where they love to please us.  They will pick up the ball if you tell them.  They don't typically say "No" yet to your demands. They obey because they love us...they want to please us.

Then I asked the moms to think about what that child was like a year later...at age 2.  Typical 2 year olds, developmentally, tend to want to do the opposite of what we are saying/demanding.  They haven't yet learend to cooperate and we as parents expect  direct obedience. Yet, they are pushing back to assert their own will.  Children at this age will obey if role models are given and you help them complete the task "hand over hand".  Even when they are not obeying you, they still love you.  

Then we talked about what that child is like 2 years later...at age 4.  Four year olds tend to be engaged in the cooperative play level.  This means they are no longer as egocentric as they were as toddlers.  They are learning to play WITH peers rather than alongside them.  They are learning to cooperate with mommy rather than having to wait to be asked and then obeying. For example, if you have been consistent with teaching your child to pick up their toys, at age 4 they are more likely to just do it as expected...and even more so by age 7.  Some times there is a child who will not learn this cooperation within the family unit and then you need to re-teach how to directly obey. But they don't have to be taught to love us.  Children just love us.  They may not like us at times, but they do love. 

Of course we then moved on in the discussion as to our current situations with teens and college kids.  We don't tend to use the words "obey me" with our older children, because they have learned how to cooperate within the family unit if you have done your part and taught it.  Most teens help out with chores, errands, housework, keeping their school work organized, keeping us informed of their schedules, etc.  We don't typically have to ask them as much as when they were younger.  And of course they do these things simply because of their love for us and the family unit.  

After this opening discussion, we moved on to how that looks in our spiritual lives.  We talked about how God showed love to us by sacrificing his own Son.  This went along with question 1.

For #2 we discussed how the verse in Deuteronomy 11:1 talks about loving God and keeping ALL his requirements, decrees, laws and commands always.  I shared how this goes along with the 2 greatest commandments that Jesus taught us (to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves).  If we are loving God, we are keeping his laws and commandments.  And by keeping those commands, we are showing Him we love him.  Just like our children did when they were younger.

For question 3, we talked about how we MUST put our words of faith into practice........our actions DO speak louder than words and this is what our teens witness.  Teenagers start to question the belief system they have grown up with.  ALL teenagers will need to establish their own personal relationship with Christ... they will not get into heaven unless they come to salvation on their own.  They are watching our every move even though they might not admit it and we might not see them watching.  

Back in the Scripture centering around Isaiah 29:13 we discussed how the people were honoring God with their lip service, and how their worship was based on the human rules that they had been taught.  But they weren't really loving God. They were just following rules devised by man.

Our children and teens often fall into this pattern to please us.....but let's keep in mind that they need their OWN relationship with Jesus.  And we need to be speaking of God, following His commands and not just a bunch of rules devised by mankind.  We are to follow what the Scriptures say for our lives.

 We have the responsibility of showing them love and obedience to our Savior so they can then see what that means. 

We also talked about the importance of God keeping covenant with us!!  How cool is that, that God keeps covenant with US?  This is based on Deuteronomy 7:9.  He does this for a thousand generations! One generation is typically one hundred years...and He loves and has mercy for us for a THOUSAND generations.  This is why it is so important, as one mom pointed out, to be teaching our children what the Scriptures say.  We are to talk about the things of God at all times.....look for those moments in the day and do them.  By obeying that command, we are showing love to our family AND to God.

Keeping the laws of God and obeying God are not burdens.  It's because we love God that we obey!

We wrapped up the discussion by summarizing the book of I John.

Basically, the book was written by Jesus' friend...the disciple whom He loved.  The whole purpose of I John is to encourage Christians to love and obey the Lord and to teach us about false teachings...to be aware that antiChrists want to destroy our faith by false teachings.

In summary:  Obey first, love and believe.  It's the perfect balance. Obey because we love. And because we love, we obey.

Let's begin to demonstrate to the unbelievers in our lives, what the love of God looks like.  Be practical!  Think of specific things you can do to show love.  And then obey God by doing those things.

please note: the chapter started out with an anecdote about young wives saying to their husband's that "if you love me, you will.............." and we all agreed that none of us really liked that. We thought that was a rather immature thing and that most Christian women would probably not be that manipulative with their husband.....we also shared some things about our early marriages that sort of related to that, but for the most part we didn't like that anecdote.  This is why I changed it to having the moms think about when their children were very young and we are teaching them to obey.  I thought it was a better example.


Deb said...

Great post and good thoughts. I have always felt that I am truly blessed when I live God's commandments - I don't feel any restriction - just love. Thanks for sharing this.

Melanie Lopata said...

Good one. And "ouch" a little. I guess I could be a better role model as a stepmom