I was laying in bed; praying and thinking over how to handle my first-born. Oh, that first-born. He looks like his daddy, but acts SO much like his momma. He and I had been having a battle of wills that night. He had received some money. The second he gets money, he’s thinking about the different toys he can buy. That’s fine, whatever, toys are fun.
HOWever, My kids have so many toys that I’m going to say probably half don’t even get touched. He also has a birthday in November, followed by Christmas in December. Toy. Overload.
So, I attempt to discuss this with him:
Me: “what about you hold onto the money and try to save it for something bigger?”
Him: “whining…but it’s my money…”
Me: (after going back and forth a bit) “Money and toys are so important to you, too important. We don’t need to put our hope in money and things enough to where we get this upset about it.”
Him: “more whining…”
Me: “I’m taking the money. I’m not going to do anything with it, but your mind/heart needs to change before I figure out what to do with it.”
I spent that night crying, praying, and thinking because of that precious first child of mine. See, I gave him “law” or what the Bible tells us about money and things on earth. (Do not lay your treasure upon them, but on things eternal.) I even explained to him in our conversation that there are bigger things (and gave examples) going on in the world and he’s whining about not getting to buy a toy the instant he wants it.
Don’t get me wrong, I want my kids to enjoy toys and the extra things in life. I love that my kids have so much more than I did. I love that people love them enough to give them things, but I also can’t ignore the most important thing. I care more about the state of my kids heart than I care about the “things.”
Another hard part of the situation is that I can’t “force” my kids heart to change. I also can’t expect the “law” to change his heart. The “law” or rules in the Bible are there to show us that we cannot keep all the rules by ourselves. (Which is why God sent the perfect sacrifice for our sins-Jesus). The law can help to provide obedience and moments of discipline and training. Those are all good things… but I’m not just reaching for “good”.
I want my child to realize they’re a sinner in need of a savior. They need redemption. How do they recognize their need of redemption? They need to recognize they’re a sinner, and repent. They can’t repent unless they learn to recognize sin. This is something the Holy Spirit can only do. Yes, I can show them their problem areas, but I can’t change it for them.
Going to church, reading their Bibles, memorizing scripture- all of these things are good, but none of these things will save their souls. Yes, God may use one of those tools for them to see their heart state, but they cannot save them from their sinner-selves.
So, I press on…with tears, prayers, and way too much thinking. Hopeful, that together, my family will work together and realize we are all sinners. In need of redemption, that only God can give.