Therefore, having these promises. . . .” I claim God’s promises for my life and look to their fulfillment, and rightly so, but that shows only the human perspective on them. God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.
I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived-a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will— where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?
Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life.
That’s a really important—and challenging—question to ask ourselves. There is something about us that doesn’t like feeling small. It starts early. Any kid worth his salt will gladly throw up his arms and do the “so big!” routine when you ask him, “How big are you?” We may stop throwing up our arms, but we never really grow out of wanting to be “so big” in other people’s eyes. It’s amazing how quickly life gets to be all about who’s got the nicest house, the best job, the coolest car, the highest degree, the biggest diamond, or the best office on the executive floor. We are quick to defend ourselves to keep ourselves looking good. We like to draw attention to our accomplishments and turn conversations to focus on us, and we find ourselves a little put out when we are not noticed or invited to hang out with the “in” crowd.
For most of us, life is about anything but making ourselves small. We are the tall “I” in the middle of our universe.
And that’s a problem.
In Philippians 2:3-11, Paul tells us that we need to stop living to advance ourselves and our own interests and instead start considering others as more important than ourselves. In fact, he says that we should do nothing from “empty conceit”—which literally means the puffing up of our nothingness. I love the graphic picture in that thought. No matter how big you puff up a zero, it’s still a zero!
And then he points us to Jesus who didn’t consider his “big” standing in heaven a thing to hang on to, but rather He humbled himself to care for our interests by becoming obedient to death on the cross. Think of that! Jesus thought of us and our needs as being more important than His own! He made himself small that we by His abundant mercy might become big in the riches of His grace.
|Five Scriptural Prayers for Your Son
Brooke McGlothlinFrom: Crosswalk.com
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
He looks at me with a “heels dug in” kind of glare. I know if I said, “The sky is blue on a sunny day,” he would try to prove me wrong.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like we’re on the same team anymore, my son and I, and it breaks my heart.
On days like today, when he’s arguing with everything I say and trying his 8-year-old best to do things his way, it seems I’m fighting against him — like there’s a war going on in my house between me and my son — a distance between us I want to bridge no matter the cost.
I know from my education that this process of differentiation is pretty normal. Boys ache for independence from mama and feel ready to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” They want to be strong, assert their opinions and explore their own ideas.
Unfortunately, at my house, we’re currently living in the in-between season, where ideas abound before my son is mature enough to handle the responsibilities that go along with them.
And so we butt heads.
Sometimes, I’m tempted to let our circumstances tell me my son is the enemy — he’s the one I’m fighting. But then I remember Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
When the days of mothering grow long and make a girl weary, and when what you really want to do is lock your son in his room and throw away the key, it’s good to remember this:
Your son is not your enemy. But there is an enemy.
That’s right. Our sons have a real enemy, one that wants to steal, kill and destroy them (John 10:10). Thankfully that enemy, according to the Word of God, has an opponent who’s a force to be reckoned with.
And me. And all moms who are willing to get on their knees and cry out for the hearts of their sons. James 5:16b says, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with” (The Message).
The best way we can enter the battle for our sons is on our knees, so let’s start fighting for them right now. Here are five powerful prayers you can use today to fight for the heart of your son:
1. Create in my son a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within him (Psalm 51:10).
2. May my son walk after You, God, and fear You and keep Your commandments and obey Your voice. May he serve You and hold fast to You (Deuteronomy 13:4).
3. May my son be strong and courageous and not fear or be in dread, for it is You, Lord, our God, who goes with him. You will never leave him or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6).
4. May my son walk before You, God, as King David walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that You have commanded him, and keeping Your statutes and rules (1 Kings 9:4).
5. Like Timothy, may my son be an example to believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the tools of Your Word and prayer to fight the battle for our sons’ hearts. Help me see who our real enemy is when we are in a conflict. May You be glorified in all I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.