The Spirit-Led Home: Love
Do you want to be able to stop the cycle of anger and frustration when your child has disobeyed you for the 5th time that hour? Do you want to have peace in your child’s future when the outcome is unsure? Do you want to be able to do what’s best for your child instead of seeking your own comfort?The good news is that you can!
When you were born again in Christ, you became a new creature, you have the Spirit of the living God in you. You are now able to walk by His Spirit and NOT carry out the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).The fruit of walking with God is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Now, this fruit isn’t a grape cluster that you get to choose a couple of fruits that you’re really good at. This is a whole single fruit. If you are a true follower of Christ, you WILL exhibit all these characteristics of the Spirit. This just doesn’t just apply to your friends at church or the neighbor you see once a week. Ladies…this applies to your parenting.
Each week, we’ll briefly look at our ability to parent through the work of the Spirit and how to be Spirit-dependent in our lives.
Loving Your Child Even When It's Hard
In Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the spirit is agape love. Agape love is an unconditional love that is not fueled by the excellency of the object, but by the charitableness of the giver. God loves us with agape love, the love that caused Him to extend mercy to us even when we hated Him. (Romans 5:8). What a huge gift of the Spirit to be given the ability to love like God.The ability to love as God loves is an important identity principle that we need to remind ourselves of daily. This will get us through difficult circumstances, disobedient children, and daily inconveniences.
You know the scene, - you finally have the kids in bed and you’re sitting down with a cup of ice cream and your favorite show. Then you hear a little voice saying the last word you want to hear – “Mommy?”.
If only they could call for Daddy right now. So many things are going through your mind. “If I just ignore the voice, it will go away.” “Maybe my husband will hear the voice and get up.” “I can’t believe they are up again. It’s the 3rd time this week. Why can’t they just go to sleep?” “This is ridiculous!”
You may feel tempted to sigh heavily (loud enough for your husband to hear of course), complain to yourself as you stomp down the hall, bark at your child to quiet down and go to bed so you can get back to relaxing. You might even throw a word or two in about how you deserve to get some rest for all the hard work you’ve done that day.
But love, agape love, does what is best for the child, not you. Okay. Let me repeat that: Love does what is best for the child, not my comfort.
The Spirit-filled believer will remind themselves of their identity by reminding themselves with thoughts like:
I love my child more than this ice cream and this show.
Lord, help me to deal with my child gently and be faithful to discipline them because I’m tired right now and I really just want to go back and sit down.
Christ served even when he was tired, hurt, and afflicted. I can go see what my child needs right now.
I have the ability to go serve my child right now, because of your Holy Spirit.
Love is Not Always Happiness
Love does not necessarily mean always making your child happy. Love does what is best and sometimes, what is best for your child is not what your child thinks is best for them. Like staying up late, putting their hands over their ears when you give them instruction, eating dessert instead of their dinner, taking medicine that doesn’t taste good… the list goes on.
It begins when your child comes out of their room and says “What can I do now, Mommy?” And you respond, “Are all your toys put away?”. As you walk into the room, you can see that the toys are most definitely not put away, yet your child says, “But I’m going to play with them later.”
You tell your child, “We are going to do something after dinner, so I’d like you to put them away now”. The child slowly takes one toy and puts it in the bucket. You think to yourself, “Here we go, again. How long is this going to take? Dinner is on the stove.”
At that moment, you have the choice to do what is best for your child by teaching them to follow through with his responsibilities or just do it for them so you can get back to dinner. Love at that moment may mean putting aside dinner and slowly encouraging, helping, watching, and perhaps disciplining if your child refuses to obey.
As we discussed in the blog Who’s In Charge Anyways, God has given you instruction to love your child through teaching and disciplining, which is commanded in Ephesians 6:4. Sometimes this means letting them cry or withholding something seemingly good from them. Other times it means helping them when you don’t feel like it.Love is an action that displays itself in putting aside your own desires and showing benevolence to others. It is expressed in I Corinthians 13 and illustrated by the life of our Lord in his actions towards others.
Questions To Consider
Do I find myself doing what is best for me or my child?
Do I give in to them and what they want now even if it will do future harm?
Do I give in because it is easier for me at that moment?
Do I think about how to make my day easy or about what is best for my son/daughter?