Today as I was reading Romans 12 in The Message translation this passage leaped out at me:
1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I was challenged to place my mothering, my painting, my business and pregnancy on the altar before
God. I was reminded that these things are about Him, not me and my will.
But another thing that really POPPED out at me was the last part "God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." All of a sudden I realized that as much as I want my kids to be grown up, well behaved, and nice to each other; controlling themselves and their tempers- God wants the same of me. The goal in this life is to mature to Christ-like maturity. To be so controlled by God that their is no longer any ME.
Wow, I expect my kids to want to be nice to one another. To know how to do so, and to do so cheerfully. God wants the same of me, of us. He wants me to put aside my wants and desires and serve my family and Him. I sometimes am so shocked how selfish and self-centered kids are. But I am just as bad. Perhaps I have learned to be kind where they are just learning, but there are deeper places in our adult hearts that God wants to bring to maturity.
What about my desire for pleasure? My desire to paint and just have fun is sometimes so strong. I make choices, choices to read and study God's word or paint and watch a movie and just RELAX. Painting isn't bad, it is something God has given me- but HE must be the priority in my free time. I need more maturity in giving up my wants, just like my children need to learn. I need to take time to be with Him so I can be growing- otherwise how can I show my children maturity?
What about my love of chocolate? My kids would eat tons of sweets IF I let them, but knowing what is good for them I control their sweets intake. God requires maturity of me in this area too. Where is that maturity?
I am learning. I am a child of God with still so far to go in this walk towards Christ-likeness.
Lord make me more like you!