In the past three weeks, I've written to you about evangelism, and how we should be proactively looking for ways to engage with our lost neighbors. This material was taken from my new series, "The Gospel In Your Neighborhood" - available exclusively to those who sign up for Paul Tripp Plus.
For the entire month of March, I'm going to write to you about the family, and how to love your spouse, your children, your parents, and your siblings as Christ loves us. I'm going to supply you with five words that are essential to building a family dynamic that follows God's design.
This material, too, is taken from Paul Tripp Plus, from my new series, "The Grace-Based Family." For only $4.95 a month, you can access teaching like this and so much more, both online and on-the-go with the Paul Tripp Plus mobile app. Learn more...
The first word that's essential to building a grace-based family is SURRENDER.
When I first asked Luella to marry me, I didn't have a clue about what it meant to surrender. As I look back on the early years of marriage, much of our struggles could have been avoided if I knew how to surrender.
By the time our children came along, I still hadn't mastered this concept of surrendering. With each new stage of their life, I had to learn to surrender in a different way. Again, many of the mistakes I made as a parent could have been circumvented if I had only known how to surrender.
So how can you avoid these mistakes and struggles? The answer is found in one sentence of one prayer: "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)
As a spouse, as a parent, as a child, or as a sibling, you can build a family of love by surrendering your kingdom to God's kingdom, by surrendering your will to God's will, and by surrendering your earthly desires to God's heavenly desires.
If God isn't in his rightful place at the center of your family, guess who you'll stick in his place? Yourself! You'll make it all about you - your schedule, your pleasure, your control. And if everyone in the family is vying for the throne of the home, you'll experience endless conflict, criticism, and dissatisfaction. Some of you are experiencing that chaos right now.
Let's be honest today: our biggest problem isn't that we don't love our spouse or our child or our parent or our sibling enough. Our most significant struggle is that we don't surrender to God enough. When we fail to surrender to God as we should, then we won't love the people in our family in the way that he calls us to love.
Are you ready to surrender and experience a beautiful, grace-based family? You need to understand this: surrender is not an event; it's a process. Every day you need to surrender again, because as long as sin remains in your heart, you'll have a desire to stick yourself in the center of your family and make it all about you.
Cry out to Jesus today and say, "I'm not very good at surrendering, but I want to be." Christ will meet you in your weakness - he loves to respond to people who, in brokenness, seek him for help.
- Reflect on a conflict you were recently involved in (with your spouse, child, parent, or sibling). How was that conflict the result of two conflicting kingdoms?
- How did you respond poorly to that conflict, and how can you surrender to God's will next time?