Friday, April 28, 2017

Rooted and Growing

 As a homeschooling mom, we generally reach a point towards the end of the school year when we pull out the achievement tests for several days.  

In the beginning, it’s rather exciting to put away the regular school books and projects that have at this point become a grind.  It doesn’t take too long though before the pressure of completing the battery of tests starts to remove all fun from the process.

An important component to growth, regular assessment is vital.  The old adage rings true here -We need to inspect what we expect. I also love the slight re-wording I have seen – what we inspect, we can expect.  In other words, when we know our work will be inspected, we tend to work harder to get it done.  When we expect something to get accomplished, we have to be ready to inspect it.  Great leaders know this lesson already.  Without checking in and checking up on regular growth markers, we can easily miss goals or even slide backwards.  This is why accountability both drives us crazy and is essential for our success.  As much as we hate it, when we are accountable to someone, we are more likely to follow through so that we don’t let the other person down.

While many people can be self-disciplined, others struggle.  The area of physical fitness is a perfect example.  Many people will go work out even when they don’t feel like it if they know that someone is waiting on them.  This pressure of not letting someone down actually helps them meet their goals compared to having no partner to let down.

In just the same way regular assessments of our Christian walk are important to our growth.  Getting caught up in the daily list of “to do’s”, we can quickly lose track of where we are in our process of growing in Christ.  If we aren’t careful and too much time passes before we make an honest assessment of ourselves and our spiritual growth, we have a tendency to stagnate or even backslide.  Being accountable to others in this process is also challenging because none of us like to admit our weaknesses. 

On top of regularly assessing our own spiritual lives, we should be continuing to assess our children.  Please don't misunderstand me here, I'm not saying we can see their hearts.  We can't, only God can sees hearts.  But we can assess the fruit in their lives.  We can honestly look at their growth and maturity and take the time to encourage growth in their lives.  Of course, this becomes challenging especially when they resist our efforts. Those who are closest to us also recognize our own weaknesses, and when faced with their issues will likely want to discuss yours.  This is why it’s important to assess your own growth honestly and regularly.  That way we can be just honest with our children about our own struggles with our Christian walk, and share with them the things we are asking the Holy Spirit to help us with.  Instead of wearing a mask and pretending we have it all figured out, we need to be real with our children about our weaknesses and failures.  If we don't let them see our real selves, how are they supposed to cope when they struggle and fail.  Giving them a false picture of our lives will only hurt them in the long run.

Heb. 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. 

My job in my Christian growth is obedience.  

 If I am planting my roots deep in the Word of God, it will shape and mold my thinking.  Out of my thoughts come my actions, so my roots need to be deep.  Growth occurs from a daily walking with the Lord, in my Bible, in Scripture memory, in prayer and in service. 

Col. 2:6,7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

What a great relief it is to know that the job of the Christian is not perfection! It is a continued growth trajectory closer to God made possible by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. Spending time praying for my children and asking the Holy Spirit to move on their behalf allows me to release the pressure of producing righteousness in them.  It’s not up to me anyway, but the act of praying for God to move in their hearts reminds me that I’m not in charge.  At the same time I’m reminded that He is their loving Father and loves them even more than I possibly could and wants what’s best for them also. 


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