Well, better late than never! Actually, I am just finishing up the chapters for this week (8) and hoping to start in on week 9 tomorrow!
Sally has been talking (last week) about our children “attaching themselves to the vine”, not attaching themselves to us. Essentially, determining and working out their own faith, eventually. My children are still quite young (6, 4 and 2), so this isn’t anything I am expecting to happen very soon.
However, it is something I need to prepare them for. And this is the biggest lesson I have learned in this whole past year – while I am responsible for teaching and instruction my children in righteousness and setting a godly example for them – I am not responsible for their salvation.
It has been somewhat of a relief. While, as I said, I am not released from my responsibilities, I am instead able to rely only on the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. I am a tool in the Lord’s hands, but I can only do so much. The rest is up to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
These past few weeks I have been noticing something happening more and more often with my 6-year-old (Will). He has been coming to us, during a time of discipline or instruction, saying “But it’s just so hard!”. Oh man, do I ever know it. Yeah buddy, it’s hard, and it is never going to always be easy to do what is right.
Yesterday, he was having a terrible attitude about pretty much everything. I sent him up to his room to lie on his bed and pray for a couple of minutes while I prayed myself and gathered my thoughts. When I went up there, he was still struggling. He knew he needed to confess his attitude and his sin, but he wanted me to “help” him.
I told him no, the words needed to come from him. He still couldn’t do it. And I could relate! Sometimes when I know my attitude is wrong, my stubborn, sinful nature wells up and disables me from doing what is right – repenting and confessing my sin. When I refuse to do this, my relationship with God and others around me suffers – big time.
I embraced the opportunity of watching him struggle to encourage him to move toward the right choice. We had just learned 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit”, and I told him that one way of quenching the Spirit was to refuse to repent of something we know is wrong. We sat in silence, me occasionally rubbing his back, occasionally encouraging him to talk to God, constantly praying.
Finally, after about another 15 minutes of this power struggle going on in this little man’s life, he surrendered and confessed in prayer his wrong attitude, asking forgiveness and the help of the Lord to change it.
I knew that if I prayed FOR him, that the attitude would likely not show a big change. As Sally mentions in chapter 12 “My children must learn how to walk with the Lord without my help.”.
That doesn’t mean I abandon them when I see them struggling and say “Too bad, figure it out on your own!”. As much as sometimes I feel like doing that because I’m peeved at their attitudes, I have to come alongside them, encouraging them to do what is right and to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and healing.