Wow! I have been reading this book 'Don't Make Me Count To Three'...a baby shower gift from our Pastor and his wife for the birth of my little Joshy. At first I thought, "Hmmmm...uh-huh...they do know I'm not a "new Mama", and then it was put up in the book shelf. I mean I knew I wasn't perfect or anything, but seriously I wasn't new to motherhood! I thought, "Ya, the thought was really so very sweet and so very thoughtful too, but I'm already raising 5 children!...Plus, now with 6 little ones...who has the time to start a book?!"
Well, I started that book...and got distracted by the kids...but then started again, only to be distracted again, and then started it again. Which means...I obviously changed my mind and realized that I truly did need this book!
This is such a great book! Not only does it help with resolving unwanted behavior, but it gets to the heart of the problem...which is, the "problem of the heart". It helps us remember that our children; as cute and as precious as they are, are also smaller versions of ourselves...SINNERS...yep, they are a bunch of sinners! Teenie, tiny, little sinners! I think sometimes we actually fail to realize this. And, it's our jobs as parents to help them fight against those sinful desires. This is no easy task! Have you ever noticed that you don't have to teach a child to be selfish...they know already how to be selfish, from stinkin' day one! It's natural for them to be "me-oriented". But, we DO have to teach them to share, to be nice, to care about the feelings of others, etc...TOTAL DEPRAVITY!!! That's what it is...total stinkin' depravity!
That's just like us! We (us adults, and human beings in general) are totally depraved! But, God in His mercy has taken us and shown us the "right way". He poured His grace upon us and opened our eyes and our hearts to what is true. It took Him to change us, to change me. Would we just know to come to the Lord without Him? I don't think we could, how would that even be possible for us to do? I was a totally depraved sinner. Not one desire of mine was for God. I was selfish, and "me-oriented". Did I believe in God? Sure I did...but was I living for Him? No. I mean I loved Him, right? I went to church, and even was involved in ministry, I prayed and read my Bible sometimes. But, I was still selfish, and when I sinned, I did feel bad...but then I'd sin again, and feel bad again...It was a very unnecessary cycle! It took God to say to me, "No!" Just as we as parents say to our own children..."No! Don't do that, don't touch that, don't say that!"
So, how dare I take credit for who I am...how dare I take credit for coming to God all on my own! Like my children, I needed my Father to love me enough to take me, show me and teach me the way that is true and right. I needed Him to accept me, not the other way around...and I thankfully praise Him for that.
If it were just up to our children...we'd be in trouble! And, we'd fail as parents! We'd sit around nervous all of the time biting our fingernails and hoping that they will make the right decisions and turn out all right in the end. Hoping that they will accept and do the right thing. That's kind of what we are saying about God when we put ourselves in the driver seat of our own salvation. We are saying that our Heavenly Father is sitting up there wringing His hands, biting His nails, worrying and watching us hoping that we will come to Him, hoping that we won't make to many bad decisions while we're down here, hoping that we'll turn out all right, hoping that His plan didn't fail and that His only Son didn't die in vain and that we will accept Him into our hearts. How does this even make sense at all?! Our God is not just sitting on the side lines like a spectator at some sports event...He's in the game! He's our coach, He's our trainer, He's our cheerleader, and He's the star player! He is in full control!!! His plans do not fail, there is no other options or a plan B.
So, what does this mean? I believe that only through an act of God was I able to come to Him. I believe it was solely God, and no work of myself that I was convicted of my sin, repented, and then put my faith and trust in Christ alone. It wasn't a "special prayer" that I recited along with others during a ritualistic act of "accepting Jesus into my heart", it wasn't the drawing of special emotionally charged music as I made my way to kneel down during an alter call...No, it was God. All God, taking mercy on me...opening my heart to what a wretch I was, an unforgiven sinner headed for an eternity apart from Him, a totally depraved sinner in spite of any good deeds I may have performed, a sinner who desperately needed a savior! Then, and only then was I able to see.
Ok, so I'm saved now...will I ever sin again? YEPPERS!!! But, it will hurt me when I do! Not like an, "Oh man, I totally just made a boo-boo again, oops, my bad!" But, a true and sincere sorrow that I have just yet again sinned against my holy God. And, the sins should be less frequent and harder to accomplish! Just like your own children...once they know what is right and what is wrong, they eventually start to want to please you by doing what is right and what will not hurt you by disobeying you. They will start to feel upset when they let you down, and have a true and sincere sorrow for going against you and being disobedient. They will strive to please you by choosing to do what's right.
A child just isn't born with the knowledge to do what's right...they need their parents to teach them, to discipline them, to nurture them, to shepherd them, to show them the way they should go. We would never expect them to figure it out all on their own...We would never leave them to just fend for themselves...Why would God leave us to ourselves?