I have a passion for the Lord and for people to experience the complete freedom that comes only through Him.
Lessons from my children Part 5: Traveling the way of love
A couple years ago, I did a series on Lessons from my children. The series covered things I was learning while working through issues with my children. My kids are entering a new stage and as a result we are trying to work through some new kinks. So I thought I would add onto the series and share our latest lesson.
I've shared before that my children have opposite personalities - every day that passes accentuates it more and more. As my son, James the oldest, is getting older he is starting to get very frustrated with his sister. My son is a straight-forward, no-nonsense kind of guy. He knows how to laugh but he can also be very serious. His sister Mercea, on the other hand, is a huge practical joker. She loves to be silly, all the time, and she is the more aggressive personality, therefore she enjoys pushing his buttons. So what has been coming out of his mouth alot is an exasperated voice stating, "My sister is so annoying!" "Why does she ALWAYS have to be like that!"
The other day, these words came out again so I thought it was time to deal with it. When I feel like there is an issue I need to work through with my kids I send them to the bottom of the stairs. They have to sit there quietly and wait until I'm ready:)!
On this particular day, the Holy Spirit reminded me that just two days before we had read Ephesians 4 together as a family and here was an opportunity for me to pull that out and show them how God's Word interacts with their everyday life:
Ephesains 4:1-7, 15, 24-29
In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
7 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.
We stopped here and talked about how we are each different - God has given James one personality and Mercea another personality. But through our family, God is teaching us how to learn to love, cooperate and get along with others. I stated how God is preparing both of them for marriage someday. They would someday marry someone who most likely will have a different personality. In fact, James might marry someone who had some of the same traits as his sister. God is giving them the time to learn how to love, how to compromise, how to be kind even when they didn't want to be kind. Do they want Mom and Dad to act like them whenever differences come up? We can have very different personalites but the way of love is learning to appreciate those differences, listen to those differences and learn how to walk together.
We talked about how these verses acknowledge that people do have differences but we need to work these differences out quickly. What they do share in common is love for God and the fact that He is Our Father and we are His children. So yes, we do look different and that is okay! How then, does God want us to live?
God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
Take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
I love the practicality of Scripture. I love that God doesn't leave us with, "Just don't do this, because it is wrong!" and therefore we get left with a weight that we can't carry. But rather, He shows us a better way and invites us into it. We see Christ, we know Christ and we learn that, yes, we have differences but there is a way to journey, with those differences intact, that leads to life.
As I walked away, I was overwhelmed with graditude to God for giving us a way to walk in as we manauver through this season of differences. Also, for challenging me in my adult life to take these words to heart and let it effect how I deal with the people in my life that are different from me! What a beautiful challenge to leave with - let each word be a gift!
And this is where I like to rewind - this whole section started out with the words, "In light of all this..."
In light of what?
The extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
20-21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
The extravagant dimensions of Christ' love is what makes this possible. God can do anything... even teach us how to love our brother and sister and walk with them in grace and love. How? By following his Spirit.