Toddlers are such unique creatures! Somewhere around age two to four, children move from being dependent babies to becoming individuals who are separate from their parents. This transition comes with independent thinking, resulting in children wanting to do things their way. Toddlerhood is all about trying to do life on their own terms…and it’s exhausting.
Our twin toddlers are in this stage right now, and the challenge is REAL. On any given day they refuse naps, are very particular about their clothing choices, insist on carrying their alligators all day, and will or won’t cooperate depending on their moods. Each day brings a new expression of stubborn independence.
I wonder if God ever looks at us doing the same thing and thinks to himself, “What a group of toddlers I created!” Thank God HE never gets exhausted.
Part of the challenge to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic is that some people refuse to give up freedoms they feel entitled to as part of living life on their own terms. This week a friend described watching a large group of teenagers doing “chicken fights” on the beach. It’s hard to practice social distancing on each other’s backs.
Doing life on God’s terms is always the better way. It involves asking God to move in and set up permanent residence. It requires us to give over our terms to receive the life he has promised:
Romans 8 (The Message)
9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him.
Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms.
It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself?
When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
I love how this passage points out that if God has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. This is an important reminder to us in this moment. The call to obedience we experience as followers of God should have prepared us for this season of doing hard things for the greater good.
God is calling us to think more of each other than we think of ourselves. That means following all the social distancing guidelines and demanding that our kids do so as well.
These are hard days. This season will be long, and requires a lot of sacrifice. But we know that when we live life on God’s terms, we will not only experience God living and breathing in us, but we will be delivered from that dead life of living only for ourselves. God’s spirit dwelling in us guarantees it, and blesses it.