We can be clingy men and women or we can let ruin and "good-for-nothingness" take over our lives. We can raise our children to be clingy men and women or we can allow them to follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts and let ruin and "good-for-nothingness" take over their lives. God wants men and women who cling tightly to him like knit boxers.
"The LORD said to me, 'Go and buy some linen shorts and put them on. Do not put them in water.' So I bought the shorts as the LORD had told me to do and put them on. Then the LORD spoke to me again and said, 'Take the shorts that you bought and are wearing and go at once to Perath. Bury the shorts there in a crack in the rocks.' So I went and buried them at Perath as the LORD had ordered me to do. Many days later the LORD said to me, 'Go at once to Perath and get the shorts I ordered you to bury there.' So I went to Perath and dug up the shorts from the place where I had buried them. I found that they were ruined; they were good for nothing.
Then the LORD said to me, 'I, the LORD, say: This shows how I will ruin the highly exalted position in which Judah and Jerusalem take pride. These wicked people refuse to obey what I have said. They follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts and pay allegiance to other gods by worshiping and serving them. So they will become just like these linen shorts which are good for nothing. For, I say, just as shorts cling tightly to a person's body, so I bound the whole nation of Israel and the whole nation of Judah tightly to me. I intended for them to be my special people and to bring me fame, honor, and praise. But they would not obey me.'" (Jeremiah 13:1-11, NET Bible)
So often, we demand and cling to our right to do as we please. We follow the stubborn inclinations of our own hearts to the extent that our permissive society allows. We ignore the righteousness that comes from God and seek to build our lives on the sands of our own righteousness. Sometimes we acknowledge God's sovereignty, but in principle only. When it comes to a critical decision point, we claim the right to judge for ourselves the righteousness of God's righteousness. In this way, even as Christians, we establish our own righteousness so that we can follow the stubborn inclinations of our own hearts. Instead, we ought to do as Jesus did. We ought to totally give up on clinging to our self-righteousness and submit instead to God's righteousness.
"For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God's righteousness." (Romans 10:3)
"Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God."
(Philippians 2:6 - NLT)
"A pure intention sees that the will of God is always good. An impure intention, without doubting in theory that God wills what is universally best, practically doubts that He can always will what is best for me in willing what is best for all. And so the man whose intention is not pure is compelled by his own weakness and imprudence to pass judgment on the will of God before he obeys it. He is not free to do the will of God with perfect generosity. He diminishes his love and his obedience by making an adjustment between God's will and his own, and so the will of God comes to have, for him, a variety of values: richer when it is more pleasing to him, poorer when it offers less immediate satisfaction, valueless when it demands a sacrifice of his own selfish interest." (Thomas Merton, NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, p. 55)
In order to cling to the word of God, we need an honest and good heart. In order to cling to what is good; we also need to loathe what is evil. What we profess belief in is not enough. Just doing our best to cling to what is good is not enough. Our love must be without hypocrisy; we need to stop loving God and Satan at the same time. In order to cling to faith and a good conscience, we need to acknowledge our need of faith and a good conscience to guide and aid us through the treacherous waters of our faith journey.
"But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance." (Luke 8:15)
"Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good." (Romans 12:9)
"To do this you must hold firmly to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck in regard to the faith." (1 Timothy 1:19)
It is not fashionable to be clingy in this country of can-do pragmatism and the self-made man and woman. And what is fashionable has a great deal of influence on our children. But in God's economy, we can be clingy men and women or we can be good for nothing. We can follow the stubborn inclinations of our hearts, or we can cling to God and "bear fruit with steadfast endurance." (Luke 8:15)
How can we teach our children to cling to God rather than follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts? Our own example is our most important teaching. And we need to teach them about right and wrong and discipline them when they deliberately do wrong. But I think we also need to allow our children to suffer some of the adverse consequences of their disobedience; rather than just lecturing them, and then bailing them out; rather than rationalizing or justifying their actions; rather than judging and criticizing others for their "overreactions" to our children's misbehavior. Sometimes, when we "protect" our children from the consequences of their misbehavior, we may be undermining some of the lessons God is trying to teach them. At the point of owning up to the consequences of their disobedience (the ruin and "good-for-nothingness" that come of that particular behavior and the heart attitude that spawned it) -- forgiveness and reconciliation become all the more meaningful, patient endurance becomes all the more necessary and bearing fruit that lasts becomes all the more desirable.
I am richly blessed in my marriage. I have two grown children. I am semi-retired. I have been a computer programmer, systems analyst, househusband and homeschool teacher. I love to walk, talk and eat, and write short articles about devoting our lives to Jesus.
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