As I pray this morning, it occurs to me that much of what I ask for, peace, courage, direction, discernment, etc. already belong to me. They’ve been mine for a long time, provided through the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. If I’m honest, what I’m really asking for when I pray for these things is the motivation to take up what is in my possession and use it, the desire to do what I already know to do because my flesh is weak and I am selfish.
Instead of stalling in prayer, I should be making myself act on what God has already given/told me and waiting for Him to bring the results. It’s not His job to motivate me, and—let’s be real—if Jesus’ dying on the cross isn’t motivation enough for me to obey, I cannot be compelled.
The ball is in my court. It has been for a long time. A lot of balls are, actually. It’s up to me to beat my body—and my thoughts, attitudes, ambitions, etc.—and make it my slave. It’s up to me to put one foot in front of the other until I reach the first ball, pick it up, and…whack…give generously. Drag myself to the next ball and…whack…serve selflessly. Shuffle to the next ball and…whack…forgive without being asked.
I was raised in the day of “because I said so” and “I’m not going to say it again.” It shouldn’t be difficult for me to follow through and do something simply because the Father says to do it, but it is. This fact worries me for the next generation, those who have been begged, coaxed, tricked, and bribed to obey.
What will happen to the children who have been led to believe that they deserve a reason for every directive they are given? The ones who believe—because they make the rules at their house—that right and wrong are relative and secondary to their comfort and convenience? The ones who have been taught by experience that consequences don’t always come and obedience, therefore, is optional?
God is not in the habit of explaining Himself. He does not beg. He does not bribe, and He always follows through. The Earth and everything in it belong to Him, and Creation itself sings His praises. Branches that bear no fruit get cut off. Oh, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Parents, the ball is in our court!