Broken-down and Needing Grace

“If you minimize in any way the the significance of the war that goes on inside of every sinner, you will tend to minimize your own vulnerability to the daily temptations that greet us all amidst the brokenness of this world. When you underestimate your potential for temptation, you don’t go through your day alert to it, planning to avoid it as you should. In that condition, temptation can easily slip past your lowered defenses, so you find yourself tricked and deceived again and again. There’s no mystery here. You were unprepared because you did not enter the situation with a humble sense of your own sinfulness.” (Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 35)

Tripp is writing in a broader sense, but the Lord used this paragraph to show me that applying this principle in our home is vital to the spiritual health of our family.

If I wake up expecting to manage my home and my children well, but underestimate my tendency to become frustrated or distracted or tempted in other areas, I am setting myself up for failure each day.

If my children wake up expecting to get along with each other, but don’t have a conscious sense of their own weakness and temptation to sin against one another then they will struggle to interact with each other in love and kindness all day.

My day needs to begin in humility,  acknowledging that I am vulnerable to temptation, and completely dependent on the Lord for strength and grace. As a busy, tired mom of many small children I don’t have the extended reading and prayer time that I would like each morning. But even a one sentence prayer expressing my desperate need of Jesus would be enough to turn my focus to the Lord before I start my day.

As for the children, they will need training to be able to do this without prompting. My desire for them is that they develop a habit of confessing their weakness to the Lord each morning, recognizing their own pride and starting out their day with an attitude of humility. I believe true humility in their hearts will go a long way in resolving the daily conflicts that arise.

Awareness of our own vulnerability to sin can stir up grace in our hearts for others around us that are struggling with their own sin. For example, if I know that I have a tendency to become frustrated with my children for not following directions, how can I condemn my husband when he does the same thing? I extend forgiveness to him, because Gods extends forgiveness to me through Jesus.

When the children become more aware of the sin in their own hearts and see their need for the grace and mercy of God, they will learn to be more gracious and forgiving of each other.

I also see that teaching them this “humble sense of their own sinfulness” begins with me (and of course, my husband, when he’s home). I must be outwardly and verbally repentant for my own sin, allowing them to see my own brokenness and need for God’s grace. And I must teach them to pray and acknowledge their own need for Jesus so that it becomes their natural first response.

I have learned the best way to teach children to depend on the Lord is by praying with them throughout the day. Each time I stop and pray with them confirms in their hearts and minds that God truly cares and has the power to help. And they begin to trust him out of experience and turn to him more quickly because it has become habit to go to God first.

And yet, I struggle to actually follow through and do this consistently…underestimating my own weakness again. 

So…praying today that God will give me the humility to begin our mornings with prayer and the strength to stop and pray throughout the day, so that we will become more dependent on him and less dependent on ourselves.

Also, linking to Lydia’s {Mindful Mother Mondays}

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2 Responses to Broken-down and Needing Grace

  1. April Lenox says:

    Beautiful, Sara! Thanks for sharing!