When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy is one that I'm reading. I've mentioned the other one several times by Leslie that I read recently, and this is just more along those same lines. To reiterate, I'm not reading this for me. Thankfully, my love story has been written. I'm reading it for my children, looking for any help and useful advice that I can find to give them in this area. I'll have each of them read this book in due time. So far, it's living up to its good reputation, and I read something last night that will be good for discussion this morning.
The question is asked, "Is It a Chore or a Choice?" (The following is Leslie speaking.)
When I was eight, my parents forced me into slave labor; they made me clean up the kitchen every night after dinner. I wasn't too thrilled about such a chore, and I made sure to let them know it.....But no matter how much I despised cleaning up the kitchen, I always did it anyway. Why? Because I knew that negative consequences would result if I didn't......I can remember one evening when my parents went out for the night. The kitchen was a mess, but no one asked me to clean it. I got the brilliant idea to do something special for Mom and Dad. So I set to work, all by myself, and scrubbed the dishes. I did an extra-careful job to get them sparkling clean. I even wiped up the counters and swept the floor. I couldn't wait for my parents to come home and notice what I'd done......I actually enjoyed the whole process. Why? Because I was motivated not by a rule but by love for my parents.
When obeying God is a chore we are forced to do, it becomes a lifeless act of drudgery and we complain the whole way through. God becomes the Big-No-Fun-One who is trying to make our lives miserable.
But when we learn who God really is and we base our decisions on a passionate love for Him, we find joy and delight in obedience. We even want to go that extra mile for Him.
Thankfully, we've had some prayers answered in this new area of our lives, but I know there are many more prayers to be prayed. With God by my side, we're going to fight to the finish on this one. I pray He'll help me to be intentional in this delicate area to teach and guide, and in the process, He'll be holding their hearts and they'll be receptive to His truths, His ways. This reminds me of what we were reading yesterday morning during our morning devotion:
My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, [And] so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
In the next section, the question is brought up that you may hear often in youth group sessions, at least that's what they say. I've never been in such, and for our family, we intentionally looked for a church that didn't have a youth group per se. I'm not saying all youth groups are bad, I'm sure there are some great ones out there with some fine Christian young men and women in attendance - you just never know, and it really wasn't something we wanted to have to deal with. A friend of mine commented the other day about how Madison seemed to really enjoy our church. She asked if there was a big youth group - I guess assuming that is the usual reason that teenagers enjoy going to church. I told her that we didn't have one, and it occurred to me at that moment that I should be thankful for what my friend had noticed.
Back to the big question... How far is too far? "This question is really a code for asking, How much can I get away with and not make God mad? It's not even a question a devoted follower of Christ should be asking in the first place. Rather, we should be motivated by an entirely different question: How far can I possibly go to bring joy to the heart of my heavenly Father in this area of life?"
Okay, so maybe this book is for me, too. I think the above referenced sentences are a great thought in regards to dating, etc., but are there other areas in my life where I wonder how far I can go without making God mad? Hmmm. Definitely food for thought on this early Tuesday morning.