Thursday, February 28, 2013

Feb 28 - DAY 16 - What Matters Most

Day 16
What Matters Most

No matter what I say,
What I believe, and what I do,
I’m bankrupt without love.
1 Corinthians 13:3b MSG

From the moment my boys were born, they had distinct personalities. Take my first two, for example. Paul was compliant. (So much so that Mary Louise and I thought that we were the perfect parents. Jay changed that.) Jay came out defiant.

The saving grace with our little Jay-Bird was that he liked to cuddle. (That was God’s grace! After all, it took a lot of cuddling to heal the divisions from all that defiance!) Compliant Paul, on the other hand, was impossible to cuddle. He was always stiff as a board!

We’re all unique. And by nature we do things our way. Another way of saying, “doing things our way,” is to say that all of us are naturally self-focused. Babies come into the world demanding. They cry, “Feed me,” “Change me,” “Cuddle me,” “Entertain me.”

Some of it is nature. Some of it is nurture. But ultimately it’s all self-focused. Paul wanted what he wanted. Jay wanted what he wanted. I still want what I want. You still want what you want.

The journey of maturity is learning to stifle our selfish nature, and to put first God and his wisdom. Scripture says that one of the ways to do that is make loving God and neighbor our highest priority -- see Mt 22:37-40.

Rick Warren says, “Learning to love unselfishly is not an easy task. It runs counter to our self-centered nature. That’s why we’re given a lifetime to learn it.”

One thing we love about our daughter-in-law is that she has loosened up our board-stiff-Paul.

We can change our nature!

One of our best days as a family involved another change. It was when Jay finally channeled his defiant nature! After a couple good weeks with our ten-year-old son, Jay told us why, “I just decided that it would be easier to do what you said the first time. I always wind up having to do it anyway.”

Why don’t we consistently spell joy (and love) “Jesus-Others-You”? It’s because we’re defiant. Our selfish nature continually thinks, “Me-First.” Like Jay, we need to say, “I’m deciding that life will be easier to do what God suggests the first time.”

And maybe we need to be like Paul too. Maybe we need to entrust our lives into the hands of a good wife – wait, in this context, into the hands of truly loving and truly God-centered Christians – to loosen us up and teach us to love with our whole heart, soul, strength, and mind!

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who went through seminary, saying,
“My kids teach me more about theology
than many of my professors!”

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