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gospel of grace

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Last week I started our series called BAD MOM DAYS.   The first was Dark Secret.  The next was The Power of Control.  Today we will begin talking about the Power of Grace.  It is really a two-parter.  I found a way to split it so I could keep from having a giganto post today!

Why did everyone else seem to be able to control, or at least manage, their children except me?  I seemed to lose my temper, often at seemingly minor problems.  Why?

What was the big deal about my kids ignoring me when I set a deadline on my expectation and they hadn’t even started to obey?  Or not honoring my preferences when I wanted the beds made before they left for school?  Or…fill-in-the-blank!

I was the adult.  Why couldn’t I just let it go…or chill, as one of my  daughters often said.

Were my expectations unrealistic?

Was there something wrong with my expectations?  The only way to find that out was to discuss it with my husband.  It may be that your husband’s perspective could be helpful for you too.

In my case, it was very helpful.  Maybe your expectations in certain situations are unreasonable.  That is for the two of you to honestly discuss (code for if you disagree with him, you need to express it and why!)  or your resentment will continue to pile up.

So, what I am sharing with you today is going to take us back to basics.  I’m sorry, I remember the things I learned that were helpful to me, but not the order.  I think this was one of the first things that really helped in a very basic way!  GOD brought these lessons not in a these-are-the-steps-to-getting-anger-under-control way…which I would have preferred, but one at a time in a wonky way.  I’m passing them on to you in a much more orderly way than I learned them!

I learned that “in Christ” I was not an orphan but a daughter.  I was part of GOD’s family because of what Jesus did when He died for me and rose from the dead.  He lived a perfect life and paid the penalty for my sin on the cross. When He died, He not only paid the sacrifice for sin, He imputed, or credited, His righteousness to my account so I could stand before a holy GOD dressed in Jesus’ righteousness.

I personally am still not righteous on my own.  But I now have the ability to behave righteously which I didn’t have before Christ.  I have available to me, the resurrection power of Christ as I go about the mundane days of life!!  That is amazing power available when I need to make changes isn’t it?

Jesus lived 33 years and did not sin once in thought, word or deed!

The perfection/righteousness I have is the righteousness of Jesus based on the fact that He lived on the earth for 33 years and never once sinned in thought, word or deed.  Can you even imagine what that was like?

When He was angry, it was pure righteous anger for the glory of GOD or anger at injustice.  Never once was it for vengeance over something done to Him personally.  That is so far beyond anything I have ever experienced as to be unimaginable!

My natural state is sinful through and through

My natural state is sinful.  Isaiah 64:6 describes it well.  Do you know what kind of filthy rags he is talking about? Monthly, mentrual rags that were taken out of the city.  ICK!  And that is what my good deeds are like to Him!  Repulsive!  I’m guessing that part of the reason for the grossness of even my good deeds has to do with the motives behind them.  They are often so mixed!  I often do good things for bad reasons.  I want applause or a good feeling or…some benefit.  My motives behind good deeds are rarely pure.  I can’t think of any times mine have been totally pure.  No wonder my good deeds are so repulsive to GOD.

Romans 3:10-12 also paints a gloomy picture of my state.  I do not naturally seek GOD…or goodness.  Neither do my kids!  It is helpful to understand this about them too!  I’m not the bully.  We each go the way we want to go.  That is our natural bent.

Part of my job is to train them to do good, but I need to understand that the good manners or good habits I teach them don’t affect their hearts.  The effective changes that take place in my children will happen at the level of the heart.  In other words, I can teach my child to say, “Thank you.”  I can’t make him be grateful.  That is a heart issue.  I can observe ungratefulness when I see it expressed, but even that will not change my child’s heart.  At some point, GOD needs to intervene in the life of my child and change his heart so he will want to do good, not for any rewards, but because of the work of GOD.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

As adults, we may be able to put a more sophisticated face to our selfishness, but the natural bent of all of us is toward what we want, not in the direction of goodness and righteousness.  OK, so now I am judicially righteous in GOD’s sight but what do I do with all the mess that comes into my life each day?  How do I deal with all the grubby, gritty details of life in a fallen world?  That is what we’ll talk about next week!

Are you aware of your place in the family of GOD as a daughter and not an orphan?

To test the premise that your heart is naturally sinful, try to go for one week without bragging or gossiping.  Only one week.  Pay attention to your thought processes.  When you are trying not to brag about either yourself or your family and not gossip at all, how does it affect your thoughts?  At the end of this one week experiment, see if you think you are still as good and kind inside as you thought before the week started.

 

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