March 3, 2010

A Defiant Little Episode

lets-make-deal“I’ll Be Good, I Promise”

My son was having a bad day. He had come home from school with a note from the teacher about the problems he was having there. Momma had informed me of the problems he as having at home before I got home from work. Overall, he wasn’t listening to anyone and getting into all sorts of trouble.

And now it was Daddy’s turn. My first approach was to talk to him about his day. No. He did not want to do that. In fact, he just wanted to go play and do the exact opposite of what I had said.

Time for a time out. My time outs aren’t set by time limits. They are not overly lengthy, so long as the child can sit still. They only have to last a short time. They don’t have to last very long at all. In fact, my time outs are more to calm down everyone involved so that a real conversation can happen. It serves the purpose of cooling off hot heads that can often let out spurts of angry words. My thought is that cooler heads will prevail.

But this wasn’t as simple as that. He wanted to do things his way. He wasn’t interested in talking. That took too much time. And so came his plea, “I wanna get down. Please? I’ll be good. I promise.”

Being the parent, I have to think ahead of my kids. And I could see a problem with just letting him go with his promise. I knew his only interest at that time was to go back to his own agenda. Why? Because I did not believe that he had a genuine desire to “be good.” If his desire to “be good” was as true as his words, would he have to get his way to start? Daddy wasn’t being fooled. Not this time.

Our Professed Stipulation

How many times do we try to make deals with God? We often times live our lives doing things our own way. We have no regard for what God wants from us. We even get put into a “time out’ (if you will) by God. And what do we do?

We seek God. We sometimes try to make our own plea. We give the age old proposition: “God, If you give me… I promise I will be good.”

We sometimes only seek after God for help when we have run out of options. We ask God for our desires. We ask for a promotion or a job. We ask for a love interest from someone else. We ask for a good grade on a test. We ask for a lot of things.

And we try to broker a deal. “God, if you give me…. I promise I will…..” We will promise in exchange to go to church. We promise to read our Bible. We promise to do good, or be good. We promise to never do the bad deed that got us in this hard spot to begin with. We vow all sorts of things. Yet, often times, we have little intentions of going through with it.

Putting Our Priorities In Order

If my son had been interested in being good before hand, he would never have had to sit in time out. If he had been good sitting in time out, he would have been able to go about his own business a lot sooner.

What if, instead of waiting for bad things to happen to seek God for help, we seek God first? If we learn to know His will, we can be in the right place at the right time. We wouldn’t have a need to make a deal. We wouldn’t have to ask God for our material desires. We wouldn’t have to beg for His favor.

Our obedience would put align things that we never thought possible and open new doors. Our first priority should be doing what God wants first. Doing what we want should be second to God and His will. Doing what others want should be second to God. If we seek God and His will for us first, then God will take care of the rest.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:25-34