Law Or Love
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
~ Matthew 11:28-29 (The Message)
His disposition seemed worn, from serving his religion. He was strict with his children, and raised them laying down the law, making sure they were there for every church service. He complained when others did not do as he did. He was judgmental to all, probably including himself. He was trying to follow the Lord, but it was obvious that it was a burden. His philosophy was, to raise his family with the burden of law, not realizing that he was forcing grace down the throats of his children.
There was a lady in another church, by the name of Ruth Graham, whom I’m told, raised her children in an adoring bond with God. Her daughter, Anne Graham Lotz speaks fondly of her mom’s relationship with the Lord. Ruth encouraged her children, and prayed for them. She watched them make mistakes, but never raised her voice in anger. She set an example to her children with a positive, sweet, disposition. Many times they found her in her bedroom, on her knees before the Lord. Her philosophy was to lead her children in love to the grace of Jesus.
The man’s children became adults who turned away from God because he had burned them out on religion. Ruth’s children, I’m sure, made some mistakes, but they chose to follow Christ. The man’s problem was, he worked for God. Ruth’s success was, she worked with God.
It’s a difficult task raising a family to have good morals in a world that is morally bankrupt. The scripture above says, “Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it.” If we as parents are keeping our eyes on Christ, and leading by His example, it is also true that our children are watching us. If we set a loving example of Christ, our actions will truly speak louder than our words. The morals will be whispered into the hearts of our children, by the Holy Spirit, when they choose Jesus as their personal Savior.
Leaving a margin for error is a good learning experience for children. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we learn our greatest lessons from our failures. Pray for them. Don’t lash them into obedience, but gently lead them in love to obedience. Let them learn the unforced rhythm of grace. Show them that our service to the Lord is a privilege not an encumbrance.
It is a balancing act of rules, relationship, responsibilities, and rewards, all wrapped up in love. If the job of raising our children in Christ is a burden, maybe we are practicing religion, instead of relationship. We should love our children to death, just as Christ loved us to His death. When we show them that the Lord’s company is not heavy or ill fitting, but light and free, maybe they will want to follow.
Dear Father, Help me to deepen my relationship with you, to set an example to my children. Amen
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Scripture taken from The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Devotion shared by Jenny Calvert.
His disposition seemed worn, from serving his religion...