Today we are talking about those days where we get to the end and feel like its been a complete mess. One day I ranted to my mum about there being no joy and no peace in our day – and she quipped – I hope there was righteousness! As always mum brought me back to the Scriptures – and that is where we are going to start today – looking for a better way to assess our day – and then a better way to get back on track on those bad days.
The Bible verse mum alluded to was from Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace, and joy
in the Holy Spirit.
Now we can get all hung up on trying to work out what the Kingdom of God is. Many theologians better trained than me have discussed this for years. But my simple mind says – the kingdom of God is the place where God rules, where he is king.
When I was about 10 I made a decision that I wanted Jesus Lord of my life. This has been tested many times over the years – but it is still my heart’s desire – that God rules in my life, that He is king.
The same goes for my home. Peter’s and my home is a place where we want God’s rule (not his rules – but his Rule, where he is the boss) . Joshua (OT Joshua) said – as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua wanted his house (his family) to be a place of the kingdom of God.
Anyways… back to that scripture in Romans – it is saying that God’s rule doesn’t happen by meat and drink. Thats the rules of the old covenant – they were allowed to do this and not allowed to do that – all the rules they had to follow. But the new covenant, the kingdom of God, is in our hearts and it plays out in our choices.
When we get to the end of a day we tend to look at our to-do list, or if we are a homeschooler we may look at our lesson plans to see how much was ticked off, and how much we achieved – in order to see if we had a good day or not. We may not even have the energy to look at a list – we are simply exhuasted and assume that we had a wreck of a day. And maybe did. But maybe we are looking at the wrong measuring stick.
If our goal is to have our life, and our family life, reflect God being king – then his standard is what we should be measuring our day by.
He says – the kingdom of God is by righteousness, peace and joy.
On that first day when mum just made a passing reference – I’m not even sure she was serious – to this Bible verse I had to admit, there had been no joy in being with my children that day.
When I asked myself – why was that – I had to say it was a hectic day where nothing went according to plan, where the noise level was intense, where there was constant tension between everyone – this sounds like no peace.
And if I keep this scripture in mind, the next question I would have to ask myself is – was there righteousness in my choices today?
And that is the crunch of it!
We complain about our bad days – but do we even aim for righteousness to be in our life? That is to be the measuring stick – did I respond with righteousness – did I respond to all that happened with the love, mercy and grace that God has given me.
When we have righteousness in our life – peace will be its fruit.
When we have peace in our heart, joy will be its fruit.
It might be good to give a quick review here of what these words mean
Righteousness – isn’t a holier than thou attitude – it’s right standing with God. It is being made right with God, and walking with Him, in ways that honours Him.
Joy – it isn’t happiness because all is good in my world, Joy isn’t because of our circumstances – it is because Jesus is with me in those circumstances, and regardless of the circumstances.
Peace – Is that sense of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well-being and harmony that settles into the depths of my heart because I know God is.
At the End of the Day – a Different Assessment
So – At the end of the day our to-do list doesn’t matter – it is just a tool to help us stay focused and do the right things. But how we do them, how we do those things is what will make for a good day, how we do them will determine if we have peace, joy and righteousness in your heart and in your home.
Jesus is more interested in HOW we do things over the things we actually choose to do.
It becomes very obvious when there is a lack of joy or peace in my heart, or in our relationships that I need to ask myself – am living my life the way I know Jesus would want me to. Am I living in righteousness? Am I living in right standing with Christ?
For me personally I would have to answer with a yes – qualified by “sometimes”, “most times” or “getting there”! And this is fine by God too – as long as we are getting there with the Holy Spirit. All these things need to be done in the Holy Spirit, that is, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with His help because we can’t do it by ourselves; not by our own determination or ability, or organization, or knowledge but by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Stay true to Living in Righteousness
Here are some things that help me stay true to responding in every day family life situations with righteousness (aka how Jesus would have me respond because of what He has done in my life):
- Reading God’s word – daily. This helps me remember what Jesus has done for me, and how He wants a relationship with me.
- Pray – not just at the beginning of the day, but through out the day. This helps me remember that I have a relationship with Jesus. He is someone who loves me, and is walking with me.
- Be careful what I commit to – I need to keep my days free for the things that God has given me to do.
- Remember that Jesus loved me while I pushed Him away – He continues to offer unconditional love – and asks me to do the same.
- Remember that the Holy Spirit is there to help me respond with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And as I ask Him for help, these responses become more established in my life.
- Do all things without grumbling or complaining – do all things as worship to God. This helps me to be thankful, and mindful of the little choices I make every day.
Heart-focused Action Step
The heart-focused action step for this week comes from another verse in Romans 14.
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual edification. Romans 14:19
What image comes to you when I say to pursue something….
To me it means I have a single focus, I’m committed, it means it is something I really want.
So Paul is saying – pursue peace. Make it your single focus, something you are committed to, something that you really want – possibly even at great cost.
Are you prepared to pursue the things that will bring you peace, godly peace?
Are you prepared to let go of the extra commitments, of the unhealthy habits, of the resentments and offenses that hold you back from responding to life with righteousness?
Are you prepared to chase and hold onto the love, mercy and grace that Jesus offers you, with the Holy Spirit so that you can respond in your crazy, messy, exhausting day with righteousness and find the joy and peace that comes with the Kingdom of God?
I’m going to pray for you this week as you process those words, and look at what it means to you to walk in the kingdom of God.
10 Ways to Find Time with Jesus when you are a Busy Mum: How does a busy mum find time to be with Jesus? Discover 10 different ways that you can refresh your spirit in the midst of a busy day.
Be Careful about Wrong Information Stored in your Heart: When we have the wrong information in our heart it makes us make wrong choices. Make sure we are believing what is true so we can honour God in all we do.
What does it mean to be a Christian Parent: The truth about Christian parenting isn’t in the things we teach our kids but rather in how we respond. Do we respond as followers of Christ?
If you haven’t signed up for the HEART BOOSTER emails then now is a good time to do that. Each week I write a note – from my heart to your heart – now, that might sound cheesey, but it really is. I sit and write an email to my mum friends to encourage you in the things we talk about here on the Heart-focused Parenting podcast. You can sign up HERE. It’s a good time to join the Heart Booster Library as I’m also preparing a free parenting workshop just for that community.
Reviews of Heart-focused Parenting Podcast
Speaks from experience
I’m so glad to have found this podcast. Belinda is warm and speaks with clarity and experience. As a homeschooling Mum of 5, I have been helped in thinking clearly about how to love my kids and gained tips for setting a gracious tone in my home. – Hayley
Heart ideas for teenagers
I appreciated your podcast on talking to our older kids because it has been this stage that I easily forget to be about the heart and I start relying on rules. So thanks for the continual reminders. ~Rebekah S.