June 07, 2009

Creating a Clean Heart

In Psalm 51, “David writes that from the moment we are conceived, our hearts are full of sin.”  My son, almost 4 1/2 now, has taught me so much about my relationship with Jesus, His love for me as well as helping me to see the ways in me that are wicked and need cleansing from Christ.  When our children are infants and up until the toddler years, we spend so much time loving and nurturing but also a fair amount of time disciplining and correcting. And in these early years it seems that most discipline is directed at the behavior (don’t touch that, say please, please pick up your toys, no throwing…) However, I feel that I’ve just entered a new stage of discipline with Owen, I’m realizing correcting behavior has had it’s place but now it is time to really be intentional about getting to his heart, not just his behavior…he’s understanding more, influenced more and is far more developmentally capable of comprehending deeper understanding beyond a simple command. 

“David writes that from the moment we are conceived, our hearts are full of sin.”

The hardest part of this responsibility for me has been related to my own heart.  We were at a friends house this past weekend and 4 small kids were playing on a slide. They all slid down at the same time and the bottom child got hurt.  I ran out to see what had happened and my son says, “Mommy, I pushed Luke and Luke pushed Lydia, I didn’t do it.”  My heart was really bothered at the condition of my sons heart.  I wanted his first response to be, “Lydia, are you ok?” Again, I know he is 4 but it really caught my attention…how do I teach my son to have compassion like Christ asks us to have, rather than being concerned with himself?  Rather than giving correction about how to go down the slide so no one gets hurt, my correction needs to be directed at his heart, how he responds and cares for his friend that is hurt. 

The biggest challenge in working on this in our family has been our own heart issues.  Not only do we need to teach Owen what the bible says about Jesus but we need to be examples of Christ to Him on a daily basis.  We need to be evaluating our hearts on a daily basis.  Our walks are the tangible part for him to see our teaching to him lived out.  My husband and I just started the DVD series “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”, and after the first session DVD, I said to my husband, “It’s just as important for us to be intentional about getting to his heart as it is to have our own hearts right before God.”  Of course this is something I’ve always known, but when I’m expecting it from him, I need to be doing it myself.  Have you ever asked your child to change his attitude even when he doesn’t feel like it, that it is a choice to have a good attitude?  How easy is that for me to do? SO HARD!  But if I’m going to expect if of my son, I need to be an example of it as well.  Convicting.

Investing in the heart of a child far outweighs the investment of having a well behaved child.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” 

Luke 6:45 “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

When our heart is right, when we’ve allowed Christ to cleanse it, make it clean and purify it, when we let Him make our heart of stone into a heart of flesh, then and only then will we have a heart like Christ, will we act and love like Christ….and for our little ones when we take the time to shepherd their hearts, the behaviors will follow.

So my husband and I are committing today to asking God to ” Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)  We cannot get to the heart of our son if we don’t allow Christ to get to our own hearts.  Investing in the heart of a child far outweighs the investment of having a well behaved child.

“Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.”  1 Sam 13:7

1 Comments So Far...

June 09, 2009 wendy

We tell Elijah, “First tend to your victim!” Instead of listing all of the excuses as to why it wasn’t your fault, it was an accident, etc. All the way back to adam and eve… “She told me to eat it!” You are a great Mom, D. I think this lesson is going to take a long time to instill…

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