“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:22-25
“When you yield yourself in complete and wholehearted obedience to God, He can do great things through you.” Jim George
- Are you ready to spend time with your Jesus? He is always with us and available, but there is definitely something special about having a few moments to stop and focus on Him and His precious, amazing Word. Grab your Bible, something warm and delicious to drink, and your journal. Go to the place where you meet with God and ask Him to speak to you as you read His Word.
- Read James 1:1-27. This chapter is full of encouraging truths to help us persevere and obey.
Obedience Leads to Blessings
The other day, I was reading through James chapter one, and I was struck with an interesting thought—James must have been a dad because so much of that chapter could be applied to parenting. It’s so interesting to picture the disciples as dads, and how they might have parented.
For instance, when you read chapter one, you see that many of the key points talk about what we need to know to be good parents: perseverance, keeping your joy when times get tough, wisdom, faith, believing God, living with less money (humble circumstances), trials, temptation (probably to lose it with your kids haha), being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, and keeping a tight rein on our tongues.
However, my favorite point in this list is definitely the importance of obeying the Word of God.
As we read our key passage of Scripture today, God paints a picture of what it’s like when we don’t obey and also what it’s like when we do.
God says when we read the Bible but don’t do what it says, we are like a man who looks in the mirror and then walks away and forgets what he looks like. Obedience to the Word helps us to flow in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we stay close to Jesus, listen and do what He says, it’s a whole lot easier to remember that we belong to Him and believe what He says about us is true. When we know we are not doing what He tells us, we feel guilty and condemned, which can lead to self-hatred and cause us to feel far away from Jesus.
Now for the good part. In verse 25, It says those who obey, “will be blessed in what they do.” Don’t we all want to be blessed, especially in our parenting? Of course, we do! Things will never be perfect on this earth, but “blessed” sure sounds like a good thing.
Many years ago, I remember a challenging season with teenagers in our home. It seemed as if every time I opened my Bible I kept coming across Ephesians 4:2.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Was God trying to tell me something?
At the time, I had a few little battles (let’s call them moments) with my one of my teens, and I felt I was unable to reach her heart on a particular issue. After much prayer and meditation on this verse, I became convicted that God wanted me to act more humbly with my sweet daughter, and maybe the negative response I felt was more because of my attitude than hers. Maybe I was the one with the pride issue.
I began to pray, moment by moment for the Holy Spirit to help me to be patient, kind and humble. I tried to listen more and insert my opinions less. I asked the Lord to help me to assume the best intentions of my daughter more and more and began to call out the good things she was doing instead of always talking about what she was doing wrong.
Little by little, I felt my daughter’s heart soften and turn to me. It wasn’t always perfect, but I did keep trying and I am happy to say we made it through that season and came out as best friends. I treasure our deep connection and can’t believe how blessed I am to be Christie’s mom. Yes, I can honestly say God gives us great blessings when we obey!
How about you mama? Do you ever feel God tug at you when you read the Bible? Is He telling you to get rid of your critical spirit towards one of your children (Matthew 7:1-5)? Are you causing any of your children to feel exasperated by the way you discipline (Ephesians 6:4)?
Is the Lord telling you to give up some control of your teen and let her have the freedom to make some of her own choices, (and maybe even a few mistakes), while she is still under your roof? You might be terrified, but God is asking you to trust Him (Isaiah 41:10 and Matthew 6:34).
Whatever God may be telling you to do, it is always for your best; no matter how hard it may seem. If you have trouble obeying, remember what Jesus says in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus wants you to stay close to Him and ask for His help to obey. You are never alone.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- In your journal, take a moment to read over the entries where God gave you a particular Scripture or piece of wisdom. Also, look over the Scriptures in your Bible you’ve underlined or highlighted. Do you notice a pattern? Write them down somewhere and begin to ask God if He is trying to tell you something through these verses. Write out a prayer to God asking Him for help to obey.
- Perhaps you have a particular child that you seem at odds with more than the others. Pray and ask God to show you this child’s heart and what’s really going on. He is so faithful and will show you! Write down what He tells you and start praying for wisdom in parenting your precious one.
Be intentional this week to spend one on one time with each one of your children. If they are little, playing a simple game together or jumping on the trampoline is always fun. We used to play Uno in bed with our kids right before they went to sleep.
Taking them out for a little ice cream or hot cocoa is also a great way to connect. If they are in high school, shopping is a great way to open up lines of communication, even if you don’t spend a lot of money. Our trips to Goodwill hold many fond memories of fun times spent with my kids over the years.
Pray before your “date” with your child for God to bless your conversation and for you to enjoy one another’s company. Ask God to help you understand your child even more and more as time progresses. And don’t forget to give as many hugs as possible!
I remember going into my daughter's room night after night and kneeling beside her bed and crying my heart out to God because I didn’t know how to be a Christian mom; I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. You know what? God is so faithful! He answered me and simply said, “Spend time with me, Deb.” And so I did. I began arising 15-30 minutes earlier each day so I could read my Bible and pray, and plan out my day with my family.
If there was one thing I would love to share with you is that God is personal and loves you as you are. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved by our amazing God! Come as you are! His loving presence can be practically known and experienced. He is not a God who is far away, He is near and easily found. He longs for you to come to Him!
Deb is married to her soulmate of 28 years, Randy. They have two grown children, Christie and Jack, and one precious, answer to prayer son-in-law named Alex.