Monday, December 17, 2012

Parenting With Christlike Motives

LaRae and Rachelle

In my last post concerning what I expect from my children, I stated that Jesus can help me have right motives. Someone asks, "How does this work? Does God just magically change you?" From what I read in scripture, from what I have observed of others, and from my own experience, I would have to answer, if I desire to have right motives, I must do my part. I'm sure God can take care of whatever part He plays in the process. I simply trust Him with that.

But back to my part... I first ask myself, "What are your motives, Laura?" Knowing the human heart can be terribly tricky, I must make sure I am honest with myself. If I know what my motive should be, it's easy to conclude, "Well, I'm a Christian, so of course my motive is right," but that isn't necessarily so.

Observing what I think about when my children fail to achieve something I hoped for is key to understanding my motives. What are my thoughts when they don't get a particular seat in the orchestra? What do I think about when test scores are not as high as I hoped they'd be? If they don't perform well in volleyball on gym night, what are my thoughts? (A closely related topic... my thoughts when the girls do well are just as important and reveal my motives, but I'll save that for a different post.)

If I find I am focused on myself, it is my responsibility to confess the truth, ask God to forgive me, and set at work to think from a Christlike perspective. When my child fails to achieve something I wanted for her, instead of thinking "What will others think," or "How does this make me look?," I must take my mind to, "How does this relate to God's relationship with my child and with me?," or "Where does this fit in the eternal picture God cares about?" By valuing what Christ values and then refusing to think about anything else, my motives literally start to be transformed, and the longer I practice it, the more it becomes who I am--Christ dwelling in me!

The word translated "repent" in the New Testament literally means to change one's mind. Jesus knows how we work. He didn't prescribe some magic formula to change us. He said, "repent--change the way you think--and follow Me." As I see I am not thinking like Him, I must do my part and refuse to think other than how He thinks, so that His motives may become my motives.

~Abba, I pray you will help me (and all those who share this desire) to continue to be made into the image of Your Son. In His name,