Thursday, October 9, 2008

Instruction in Righteousness

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16

My daughter recently turned five. It seems as though she skipped eight years and became thirteen overnight. Every request is met with a pouty face, an excuse to delay or avoid said request, or a disrespectful "No!" Complaints are rampant; every tiny inconvenience is magnified to mammoth proportions. Tuesday I had had enough of this attitude.

Before I reacted in the moment, as I usually do, I stopped to consider my own reactions. Often I was responding in kind, complaining about her complaints or serving up my own disrespect in a it's-my-way-or-else command that bulldozed over her feelings. I did not like the image this perusal conjured up, and I decided to try another tack.

I pulled down from the bookshelf For Instruction in Righteousness, a book published by Doorposts. It is filled with scripture on various Biblical character traits and is organized by problems. For each problem, Bible verses are listed that provide a handy reference of what the Bible has to say about this sin, discipline ideas and object lessons are highlighted, and stories of Biblical figures who indulged in the sin or exemplified the opposite positive character trait are given.

I paged over to the Arguing/Complaining section and skimmed the Bible verses listed, stopping at Philippians 2:14-15: Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. Using the metaphor in these verses, I remembered a basket of small flashlights I used for props in Bible school and grabbed two of them for my own object lesson. I read the verses to my daughter and explained that, as Christians, we are different from those around us. By following what the Bible tells us to do, we can shine. I asked her to turn one of the flashlights on. Because it had dead batteries, it wouldn't shine. I explained that, like that flashlight, we don't shine God's love when we are too busy arguing or complaining. I then gave her a working flashlight, which she turned on. When we choose to keep ourselves from arguing or complaining, we shine God's love through the darkness of others who do choose to argue or complain.

When complaints reared their heads yesterday afternoon, I simply asked, "Do you want to shine?" That question was all that was needed to stop those complaints in their tracks.

I learned yesterday that going to the Word is one of the most effective forms of discipline. After all, the word has at its root the word disciple, with all the connotations of learning. The Bible is useful for instruction in righteousness--for children--and for their mamas!

So, what verses have spoken to you this week? Post those verses on your own blog, along with how you see that God wants you to apply them in your life. Then, provide your link below so that we can drink from one another's wells of scripture.


Anonymous said...

Amen! I just purchased a little devotional at a christian bookstore today, Leading Your Kids To Christ. I have been wanting the Doorpost book for two years now. I'm going to have to break down and buy it now. ;)

Thanks for such a great post. Very enlightening.

Kathryn said...

What a wonderful object lesson, Celly! Thanks so much for sharing it. (And, I'm enjoying having those little lights shining in my house this weekend!) :-)

Brittany said...

I posted something older, I didn't have anything of the top of my head. Hope that's ok.
I have the same problem with my 3 year old and I;m seeing more and more that's she's simply reflecting my attitudes and actions.

Janet Roller said...

Great post! Thanks for visiting my blog. I have a 6 and 7 year old...I know what you mean about the acting older-than-you-are moments. God's grace is sufficient!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just found your blog through CWO. Great post and I love the idea of Thirsten for the Word Thursday! God Bless :)