For instance, I try NOT to take all three
So, I've started to think that I should not even enter into situations that cause me to escalate my sinful nature of impatience with the kids (leading to great exasperation...) or give my kids opportunity to disobey (when I KNOW that I'll be giving them a great opportunity to disobey). Now, I know that the children, born into sin, will always be tempted to disobey and will give into that temptation more often than not, but if I KNOW there is something that will be a great test of obedience, I've been declining the opportunity.
All this to say that my friend was going to take her kids to Boone Dam to play near the lake and have a picnic. I, at first, invited myself along, thinking that would be a fun adventure for me and the kids. Yea! It was a great idea! But as I thought about it, though, I foresaw a great opportunity for my kids to disobey and me not being able to aptly enforce obedience. This is what I thought about:
1. My kids would LOVE to run around the hills and open space of the public park property around the lake!
2. But, my kids would want to go INTO the lake and with an infant, I could not properly monitor them
3. When I would tell them NOT to get into the lake, I could say great floods of tears and a great fit of temper from my eldest boy
4. I could see my kids not wanting to eat lunch because of their great desire to get into the lake and disobey me.
5. I could see my kids choosing to disobey anyway in an environment that could threaten their life and for me to not react quickly to that possibility potentially leading to something much worse than "mere" disobedience.
Oh, there is more to the list, but I'll just stop there. I chose to renig my self-invitation and not go to the lake. Now, I was debating within myself whether or not I should not go in the chance my kids would disobey. Hey, they might have loved it, obeyed and had a wonderful time! But, I just didn't want to put myself or them in a situation of great testing. So, we didn't go. And we ended up having a pleasant afternoon and lunch with Daddy (which was another "opportunity for disobedience" that ended up being OK).
So, the great debate leads me to a question: do you assess opportunities that you have with your kids and choose NOT to do them because of how you or your kids will react to the opportunity? It's hard because sometimes I'm choosing to forgo fellowship with a friend or a fun chance for the kids in order to maintain a spirit of righteousness. Now, I know I can't always shelter them, which I don't, but I am starting to assess certain situations where I know I can't handle the sinful reaction of my kids, if it happens (specifically if the situation can lead to something life-threatening). I believe that I did the right thing of not going to the lake. But I wonder how far I should go with my assessing nature.
It's heart breaking to me whenever I look at the sweet faces of my children and know that the state of their hearts are filled with sin. They need Jesus, just like I do, and more than anything, I want to show them Jesus. With all I am and with all I do, I want to God to be glorified and I want my children to desire the same thing. I know that one of the greatest testimonies for them is watching me (and Patrick) in life-action. What life-actions are you willing NOT to take for the sake of righteousness?