For the past few months I've been struggling with a certain three-year old in our home. I shared about when a Sunday School teacher asked if my son knew his name. And how he's been sent to the director's office a few times. I shared my thoughts on how I pray for salvation at a young age.
I can teach him the "rules" and set behavior expectation. I can enforce consequences for bad behavior and love him (in spite of my desire to scream "Why are you acting this way!?!"). I can model kindness and respect.
But ultimately he has to choose good vs. evil.
So I have prayed he would hunger and thirst for righteousness. That he would desire to know God more and surrender his will.
Some critics may say, "He's only three years old. Give him a break." Believe me I give him buckets of grace.
The last week of school I found him sitting in the time out chair at pick-up time. Apparently on that day he hadn't listened to his teacher's request (well her 3 requests) by the 4th time she asked him to stop he looked right at her and stuck out his tongue.
Then he came home and threw toys (to which he received discipline both times).
While I prepared dinner he decided to go outside and ride his plasma car.
As I placed glasses on the table, he walked into the house and announced. "I just talked to Jesus".
Despite the nuttiness of that time of day, he had my full attention.
"You talked to Jesus? What did you say?"
Without missing a beat he said, "God, please help me find my listening."
We all are theologians. Even three-year old versions.
Did you catch his theology?
He said, "I talked to Jesus" and then said, "God, please...".
Which may imply he correctly views Jesus as God. And beyond that he understands God is interested in helping a little boy find his listening. And God is capable of helping a little boy listen.
I recently attended a mother of boys group. The topic for the night was how our feelings reveal our lies about God (led by Terri Fornear author of "Dealing with Feelings")...
Step One: Terri asked this tired group of boy moms to think of a situation in which we had a strong emotion (positive or negative).
Example--two boys fighting
Step Two: Then she asked us to label the emotion we felt.
Example--frustration & disappointment
Step Three: Her next question threw the group for a loop. She wanted us to consider what lie about God we were believing when we felt that emotion. This stopped many of the moms. Lie about God? Did we believe lies about God?
Perhaps another way to ask the question is," when you feel that emotion, what do you believe about God?"
Example--God is not able to change my boy's hearts. Only I can direct my children's behavior.
Step Four: Then Terri encouraged us to gather Scripture which reveal the truth about God.
Example--God loves my children. He can change hearts. He has a plan & a purpose for my boys.
Our feelings reveal our theology.
When you feel upset that your husband didn't do enough to celebrate you for mother's day--> "God doesn't see me or value my sacrifice."
God sees you. (Gen 16:13) He knows the hairs numbered on your head.
When you are angry at a decision that was made by leadership you fall under--> "God can't redeem their mistake."
God will make all things right. He will redeem all things (Titus 2:14)
When you feel sad or excluded when you weren't invited to a social event--> "Other's approval and acceptance matters more than God's"
God's opinion is the only one that matters (John 2:25)
Take a second to consider a strong emotion you've had over the past few weeks. What does that feeling reveal about your theology?
What do you really believe about God? If you share a feeling you've had perhaps we can help one another find truth in His Word for that feeling.
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. (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)