Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rebellion, Repentance & Deliverance

The boys have been in one of those stages where they argue a lot with each other, me, Chet, their friends... pretty much everyone except for Claire who they still think is the cutest thing on earth.

Tonight we needed to run some errands. Our plan was to eat a small snack on the way to Lowe's, get what we needed there, eat pizza somewhere, and then go the grocery store for a few quick things. Let me just say that they were NOT in agreement with one another as we went through Lowe's. For some reason, and I don't know what it is, they freak out in that store and start arguing with one another about the craziest things... whose hand gets to be on which side of the cart, who gets to touch Claire's cute feet, who gets to hold the roll of tape or bottle of Krud Kutter, etc.. It's ridiculous. And then they want me to take time to let them sit on the tractors/lawn mowers. I had to take a bunch of time to correct them or reign them in about every 29 seconds as we walked through the paint supply section, so they did NOT get to ask for time to sit on tractors.

When we got to the car, I got them situated and then explained that if they argued again or disobeyed in any fashion, they would not have further warnings before consequences would be meeted out. This was serving as their reminder of how they were to behave. As I suspected, a whole minute did not pass by before they were arguing about something silly like who saw the goose on the side of the road first.

So when we stopped at the restaurant, I moved myself to the back of the vehicle and delivered their consequences. This is how Ladan responded (picture him with a very contemplative expression):

"Hmmmm... You HAVE said before that he who hates God keeps right on sinning. And he who loves God turns from his sin and turns toward God. Well, do you know how many more times I'm going to sin? ZERO!"

I explained that this is an excellent thing to strive for. And if we believe and trust that Jesus came to earth, lived a holy life without sin, died to take our punishment and rose again to defeat Satan, then He does deliver us from our sin! And He does give us an opportunity to completely turn from particular sins. However, since we're human, there are new sins that He is faithful to uncover, and this happens for our whole lives. Basically, we we are always in need of Jesus and always in need of His grace.

I could tell by his facial expression that he wasn't exactly sure what to think about that. It was clear that he really wanted to be freed from the desire to sin once and for all. I do too! In the meantime, I praise God for the grace He continually extends toward me. I pray that His grace is extended to all of my children and that they love Him more than anything else. And I look forward to the day when my sins are not only covered by the blood of Christ, but I am finally free of any inclination toward sin at all!

All of this draws me to think about Romans, chapter 8 in the Bible. The entire chapter is worth meditating on, but here are some portions that directly correlate to the discussion Ladan and I had tonight:

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have receied the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

... [W]e ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

(Romans 8:3-17, 23-25)

I'd be curious to know how these big questions of life and eternity impact others. Are you living by the flesh, or are you living by the Spirit? How do you know?