Wednesday, November 28, 2012

As He Loves

[Thoughts on Steps to Christ, chap. 1]

Through the ages, Satan has distorted man's perception of God to such an extent that most people view God as a stern judge - always "watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them." [SC 11] My heart was immediately pricked with the thought that I probably come across the same way to the boys I homeschool - always watching to catch them in some misdemeanor so I can give them a mark. But if I am to be a representative of Christ, and reveal His love to the world, I must work to remove this misconception of God's character. How am I to do this, and yet maintain proper discipline and structure? The rest of the chapter explains how Jesus did that very thing.

"Love, mercy, and compassion were revealed in every act of His life." SC 11-12

"Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He always uttered it in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. ...tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes." SC 12

I am also reminded of what EGW says in another place, "We are to put the best construction upon the words and motives of others." If the boys see that I expect only the best from them, at first they may try to take advantage of that, but I believe that in time, they will be prompted to put forth all their effort to measure up to that expectation and prove me right. At the same time, I must be careful not to "censure human weakness" - to be aware of their limitations and not demand things beyond what they are able.

This goes right along with what Alicia told me last night about Daniel - he doesn't respond well to punishments and negative consequences, but rather to positive reinforcement - rewards and encouragement. Of course there will always have to be consequences for our actions, but God's way, I believe, is the same - to shower us with love and encouragement, gently, lovingly nudging us forward towards the right, and expressing genuine sorrow when unpleasant consequences must be meted out.

I love this closing thought at the end of the chapter:

"The thought [of God's love]...brings the mind into captivity to the will of God." SC 15

It is only as my mind is in "captivity to the will of God" that I will be able to accurately portray His character to the world, and remove the misconceptions that Satan has planted. According to the above quotation, if I want to have the mind of Christ, to be always in harmony with Him, all I need to do is meditate on His love for me. This simple meditation has the power to captivate my heart and bring me into harmony with Christ. What a wonder!


  1. Beautiful..Love that thought at the end that by beholding we are changed.
    It's so cool that you're teaching!!
    Daniel must be the one you said you thought was a four, huh? If so, then you're more than right. I had a four in my classroom this semester that couldn't stand me at first but after I hung out with him outside of class and complimented him on everything I could think of and generally let him know I loved him in every way that a teenaged boy can stand to hear (aka picking on him, lol. Not sure how that works) he turned around and was one of my strongest supporters. I'm convinced that love is power.
    Remember how Mrs. Evert worked with me? As I look back on it now, I realize what a risk she took in doing that, but it worked! And it changed my life forever...
    Education ch. 34 has practical how-to's if you're ever looking for some. :)
    Praying for you girl!! You're making a huge difference in their lives even on the days when everything looks like a failure. :)

    1. Yes, Beth, Daniel is my "four". ;) Gabriel...definitely a one, all the way. He's more similar to me than I ever expected, which is kinda scary, and definitely frustrating as we try to outsmart each other! lol (And he often gets the better of me.) Yes, I know all about picking on students...I pick on Gabriel all the time, and vice versa! I have to be careful how I pick on Daniel, though. He's a sensitive soul. But he knows I love him. He'll randomly cuddle up to me, or throw his arms around me, or springboard himself into my arms without a moment's notice. lol

      Thanks for the reading recommendation! Yes, I definitely need to reread Education. I've already forgotten a lot, but I remember it was a huge blessing when I read it a few years ago. I'll check out ch. 34 first.

      You know what? You deserve a bear hug. :) Wish you were here so I could give you one in person. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Love you!!!!!!! <3

  2. Praying that each of us will be "in captivity"! :)

  3. This is just a suggestion, why not mark when they do something good, and then they get a special reward. Things like doing things on their own without being told, or making their bed, listening well, etc. That may help them want to do more good things. The rewards being something they like, or some treat they like to eat... Just a suggestion. =) My prayers are with you! =D Love, Kaila