How weak and discouraged we can become! Oh how easy it is to slip! It amazes me that even with bucket loads of genuine faith, it is still so easy to listen to our own excuses and take the easier options. A profound quote, which I heard recently, comes to mind….
“The blood of Christ can cleanse EVERY confessed sin, the only thing it cannot cleanse is an excuse!”
There are countless excuses to put off doing the often grueling work of a calling. My recent excuse has been my illness and medication. The high levels of medication needed for the past year totally destroyed my ability to be creative. I could barely come up with an idea of what to make for dinner, let alone write something that may inspire any of you!
In His usual merciful way, the Lord gives much needed grace. The pressure to perform work for Him decreases, and even though we keep Him in our thoughts and speak of Him to others, It’s easier to turn to comfort and away from suffering willingly. Instead of researching diligently for motivation and spiritual food, we often give up and lean hard on any distraction.
True to form, the Lord gives us enough rope to hang ourselves with, and as usual He reaches down and intervenes before we can completely destroy ourselves and all His blessings around us.
As the rope tightens, fear overcomes us, discord enters our lives from almost every angle. In my case I became defensive and self-righteous. I had used my excuses for a longer period than God had deemed acceptable. By stepping outside His will we step outside His protection. As a result we become discouraged, full of confusion and despair.
In times like this we need a WORD from the Lord, and sometimes that word is not the full picture but a single step which He directs us to take. A single step of obedience, often a horribly scary and difficult step. However when you get a WORD from God you know that you know what you must do, no doubt at all. It’s a step that takes constant prayer, complete reliance on God’s strength to stick to it, and acceptance of our weakness, our inability to perform it without Him. All trust and Hope must be in Him!
Steps like this usually go against every step we would normally take, it is a step within the spiritual system and appears to be something entirely different to those in the world system. It also comes with intense demonic attack. Attack trying to discourage you so your faith is weak. Attack to distract you from staying within God’s will, and you can be sure you will get attack after taking that step of obedience, as spiritual backlash. This is spiritual warfare at it’s core, a fight within ourselves against our flesh, a fight within ourselves against our poisoned souls and hard hearts, a fight against the armies of the spiritual world aimed to unravel God’s plan. Inner Angels and Enemies in full force BATTLE!
Without knowing the entire message, we must obey, we must take that step and stand there waiting for our next direction. Standing in that tiny square, waiting on God in obedience, is a test. How long we must stay there depends on how long it takes for us to get an A+. God wants us to pass with flying colours and is patient enough to wait however long it takes.
After the time of this test, while standing still, leaning on this WORD, this step, I turned, face first into God’s presence and the moment I did, the Lord began to comfort me. Not many more steps were needed in His direction to receive His revelation, and after my remorseful confession came His wonderful blessing! Stable, Strong, Zealous, and Productive Faith!
I am overjoyed to be useful to Him again! To have Clarity replace Confusion, Faith replace Fear, Health replace Illness, Love replace Hate. God is SO GOOD!
In my previous blog Discipline + Trust = Love I took you through the story of my emotionally manipulative behaviour and how perhaps a lack of discipline and trust contributed to it. I hope it helps others recognise similar behaviour in themselves, and to learn how to access powerful angels to combat this all too common inner enemy. Please read the previous one first, as it sets the foundation for this post.
If you would like to hear more about the emotional trials I faced in my relationships and the success that came from my new perspective have a read of Less Tantrums, More Love. I’d like to keep the focus here to explain more about what God has been trying to help me understand, about how disciplining our children with love helps to build trust and a healthy perspective of how to feel love and be grateful of Godly discipline.
Discipline means, the trait of being well behaved; a branch of knowledge; and training to improve strength or self-control. Trust means, the trait of believing in the honesty and reliability of others; allow without fear; and complete confidence in a person or plan.
Seeing as I am a parent currently learning these lessons myself, I feel my readers may as well be learning this right along with me. God has been showing me that it is our job as parents to seek His advice in deciding what is right for our children and stick to that with all the tenacity and prayer we can muster, even if they don’t like it, even if they panic, and even if they cry! The hope is that this may help them develop strength, self-control, good behaviour and knowledge. If our children learn that they can trust us, they will believe in our honesty and reliability, have complete confidence in us and our guidelines, without fear.
When I first became a parent I was mindful of the problems the lack of discipline in certain areas caused me, I did my best to address this early on, and was indignant if my children battled against me, sometimes I would win and sometimes I would be defeated. However it wasn’t until I developed some faith that I was more able to withstand against their emotional manipulations. I am far from a role model parent, I loose my temper, react badly and still struggle with the effects of my psychological conditions. However, I am willing to try to stick to my convictions and trust that God will cover areas I am unable to! Amen! I always hope to keep improving as a parent so that during times when they may stand against my authority, or when as they grow and begin to decide for themselves, I can adapt with each phase and yet must remember to recognise the enemy’s tricks and pray for the strength to stand strong with Godly principles in mind.
I came to recognise the inner enemy as the force at work that is trying to get parents to crumble under the emotional pressure and allow children to get away with bad behaviour. The only weapon we have against any inner enemy is God’s army of angels we must call upon with faith and the armour which God provides. This article by a fellow blogger explains The Armour of God from the scriptures if you want to read more on this subject.
After many battles of will with my children and seeing the difference the help from my inner angels makes, I am beginning to realise that ‘meaning what you say with love in your heart’ is the most important way of building your child’s trust and gaining their respect. If we offer a punishment for bad behaviour or a disrespectful attitude, and fail to pass it out, why would a child be concerned by our threats and learn to respect us? If we allow our children’s emotions and tantrums to dictate a change in our rules or our decisions, doesn’t that change who’s in authority? Why then, would they trust us to know what is best for them? I believe we need to teach our children to understand that when we insist on what is best for them and what is acceptable behaviour, even if they don’t ‘like’ it, it proves our trustworthy authority over them and therefore our stable, dependable love for them.
I am seeing more and more that Godly discipline is proactive discipline. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ This is an understanding of what the consequences will be before the child continues with bad behaviour, a warning, then following through with the threatened consequence every time they ignore the warning. I hope my girls grow to trust me to mean what I say, and know that I’m trying to teach them that for all of life’s decisions, there will be consequences. Good or bad. God gives us warnings, that small voice of conscience reminding us of what is dangerous or unacceptable behaviour. We can choose to ignore the warning, but be assured there will be a consequence eventually.
Too often tactics of discipline don’t always work, because a quick sting on the hand may cause tears, and parents do not want to cause their precious baby to cry, as quite frankly the baby cries enough already! It then becomes common to wait to begin disciplining until around 2 years old. By this time the child has already gotten away with unacceptable behaviour without understanding consequences, they have no idea how or why to heed a warning.
Usually the frustration parents feel at having no control or no respect from their children can lead to emotionally reactive discipline, for example yelling, swearing, smacking in anger without warning, unreasonable punishments or irrational threats that may sound scary but will never be carried out. Reactive discipline may actually be the cause why the child does not trust us or respect us! From the minute they try to get their own way, we need to take control and mean what we say with love in our heart.
As we grow older it is much easier for us to accept the ups and downs in life if we have a stable foundation to build on. As a child we may feel angry, scared, sad or confused when we aren’t allowed to get our own way, but if we are disciplined correctly we grow up to learn that our parents loved us, were trustworthy, helped keep us safe, to make stable choices and display appropriate behaviour. Wouldn’t that also help us see that when life gives us warnings and consequences, we can interpret that as God’s unfailing, trustworthy, guidance and love for us, rather than acting like defiant children who throws a tantrum when we don’t get our own way.