by Pastor Tim Burt
When my children were small, there would be many times Renee and I would announce a family outing. Come on kids, we are all going to Taylor’s Falls (a beautiful river and mountainous hiking area) for a picnic and hiking. You have a half hour to get ready to go. With four children, there were always different ideas about what they wanted to do. Oh dad, do we have to go there again, we just went last year? I don’t want to go hiking, can’t we just hang out around the house? And so on.
Planning these kinds of days took some work and preparation, so I was at times, tempted to get a little upset with their attitude. Renee was great to remind me of our approach to situations like this. Don’t worry, she’d say. I just tell them again and again, “This isn’t a democracy or something that’s up for a vote kids! So move it!” Then she’d laugh saying, I get this from them all the time whether it’s hauling them to a grocery store or wherever. I just try to make it fun and they are usually glad. We’d often capitalize on the moment by teaching them a verse that would help them change their attitude like Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV). “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Okay Kids! Time to shine!
When it was all said and done, we almost always had a great time and the kids would end up thrilled that we went. I’d ask them on the way home, Well… are you guys glad we went today? With a sheepish look they’d say, Yes dad. You were right and we were wrong. Thank you for taking us. It was really fun!
It’s easy to read about kids having a bad attitude but what about us? Galatians 5:16 NLT says, “…live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” There are many times where our flesh and our soul (our mind and emotions) want to do the wrong thing or are lazy and don’t want to do anything. Our flesh and soul seldom like discipline or moderation or doing things that we know are good for us. How many times have you thought about getting up and exercising or reading your Bible and praying or beginning a diet, only to abandon those thoughts in record time?
Most mornings I will go through an exercise routine. Very seldom as I drag my body out of bed, is it excited about jumping into an exercise routine. Yet I know I’ll be glad once I’m done. If there were 20 things I should do to start out my day, flossing my teeth would be the last on the list yet I know it’s important and so I do it (sometimes).
When I will seek God’s direction through His Word and prayer, and pay attention and listen, the Holy Spirit will always speak to my heart and leave an impression of what I should be doing. When I obey that leading, then I won’t be doing what my lazy or lustful flesh and mind might cry for. God wants you to yield to the Holy Spirit and have your spirit lead your mind, emotions, and flesh. When it does, you will be walking in the will of God. When we learn to consistently do what our spirit is impressing us to do, then we are learning “..to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit.” For me, learning to listen, has resulted in having a happier wife, happier kids, and godly disciplines instead of lazy attitudes. These changes have literally changed my character and made me a better man over time.
Even as adults we face things we don’t want to do that we should do. We can be like our children and whine or complain, or we can grow up! We can develop a good attitude or we can bellyache. We want our kids to develop a good attitude. What about us?
For many people, life is too often a big pain in the rear end. It doesn’t have to be. If we will learn to pay attention to the leading of His Spirit in our heart, and let our minds and emotions be purified by trusting in God’s ways, the Lord’s blessing can make every path and process that we go through so much more enjoyable and peaceful.
Galatians 5:16 (TLB) “I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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