Here recently we have had some issues with our son going to sleep. He constantly is getting up and constantly being disobedient in this matter. I actually began to become frustrated, so we began to initiate discipline.
Unfortunately our son has inherited my stubbornness and needless to say discipline wasn’t working either. This past Saturday night there was yet another struggle with putting him to sleep. After the last and final time I shut the door and at that point I just felt like I was doing this whole parenting thing wrong….
“John you’re expecting him to be obedient by threatening punishment. Have you forgotten how it was that I brought about change in your life?”
“It was when you showed me your tenderness.” I said in myself
“Then you do the same.”
Tonight as I write this, to say that I am not in tears is a complete understatement. After Janell read a couple books and all three of us prayed. I told Janell that I’ll take it from here and so she went to our bedroom and I stayed behind.
At that moment I simply embraced him. We talked, I showered him with words of affection. When he expressed fear of being afraid of the dark or whatever was on his mind I poured into him the words of a loving father insuring there is no need to be afraid. I laid him down, kissed him on the cheek, said I loved him and I closed the door…
The result was none other than him falling asleep immediately and not getting up once. It wasn’t fear of punishment that would bring about change. It was tender love that would move my sons heart into being obedient. As it was in this instant so it is with God in dealing with our lives entirely.
As you grow in the Lord, I pray that as you move God-ward you come to know the relentless tenderness that God has for you. And when you really take hold of that, and the fact that “God loves you” goes from your mind (which is only intelligence at that point) to your heart, you will find that living for God is so much easier when you’re living WITH Him, there is a big difference between the two and the latter makes the former SO MUCH EASIER!