When I was a young parent, the realities of my life's new role not only increased my desire to meet with God every day, but also forced me to realize anew my critical need for His power and presence in my life. So often, I looked at my children and wondered, How could He have entrusted me with the care of this little person’s life? I felt so inadequate. I wanted to spend time with God. I longed to hear His voice through prayer and Bible study. But just "wanting to" didn’t make the establishment of a daily quiet time easy.
A lack of discipline is the main hindrance. Discipline, or self-control, is best illustrated by Olympian athletes. They spend extensive hours in physical training, sacrificing their lives in pursuit of a goal. Their rigorous preparation does not take shortcuts or play hooky. What's their secret? Desire. They are motivated by how desperately they want the gold.
Whether it’s eating right, exercising, staying organized, or having a daily quiet time, most of us know what we should be doing, yet we allow our human nature to keep us from doing it. We are caught in the apostle Paul’s timeless paradox of not doing what we should, and doing with gusto what we should not. As new creatures saved by Christ’s sacrifice, we foolishly continue to live in the flesh, although the spirit is willing. So it's a battle. The spirit makes to-do lists, and the flesh doesn’t get them done. The spirit thinks about making a grocery list and using coupons, and the flesh goes to the store hungry and buys everything that looks good. The spirit plans to get up in the morning for time in God's Word, and the flesh hits the snooze button...repeatedly.
pray enough. Where do I find a balance? some ask. What else can I do? What am I doing wrong? In the struggle of spirit over flesh, we must come to a place of deeper surrender. It’s really not about trying harder to achieve more self-control. It’s about letting go of more. When I empty my arms and unclench my fists, I’ll receive more of God’s grace in raising my children and becoming the parent He wants me to be.
Today, what do you need to let go of? If you find yourself in a desperate place, as difficult as it may be, thank God for it. Let that situation, relationship, or circumstance take you to your knees for some quiet time with the Lord. The best gift you can give your family is the time you spend with the Lord every day.
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