I am currently parenting my youngest child through the middle school years, which I think we can agree are maybe not the most fun. There’s a lot of emotions and hormones running the brains of middle schoolers, as they start seeking more independence and making dubious friend choices. There’s a lot of teeth-gritting on my part as I remind myself that my other two kids survived these years, and that we will muddle through somehow. My child’s need to argue with me about absolutely every single thing will eventually fade. This too shall pass.
I wonder if our entire lives feel like middle school parenting to God. Certainly He must do a holy facepalm from time to time. We are fearfully and wonderfully made but also total dummies who like to learn our lessons the hard way. He asks for our obedience, but like a middle schooler, we make childish excuses about why the rules can be stretched for us.
“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:2-5 NIV
To love God, we must keep His commands. This obedience only comes by the power of the Holy Spirit, to whom we must yield. To obey we must know His commands. To know His commands, we must know His Word. To know His Word, we must read it. This seems simple, and we can all agree on it, but oftentimes we struggle to actually read His Word. May I encourage you to start small, but to just start? You don’t have to be a bible scholar or get out the commentaries just yet; just read a chapter and ask God to reveal Himself through His Word to you. Read 2 Peter and then have a listen to our recent study on that book, or any of our studies. Don’t let the stress and busyness of life steal the blessings God has for you in His Word.
We all want to be overcomers, just like Mandisa sings about. But how do we become overcomers? Or how do we survive raising middle schoolers? By obeying God, by being in His Word, and by allowing His Spirit to direct our steps.