Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Relate: Once upon a time I knew everything. Once upon a time I was indestructible. Once upon a time the entire world revolved around me. Once upon a time I was sixteen. Now let’s be a bit honest. Once upon a time, I was insufferable. Growing up, I had very strong opinions, I was incredibly dogmatic and vocal, and I was very stubborn. The thing is, I got a lot of this personality from my mom. Our similarities caused sparks to fly and I did everything I could to test her patience to the extreme. The very fact that I managed to live through my teenage years is a testimony to how godly and gracious she is.
I remember one of those times when I was in the kitchen and she was in the living room. I thought we were the only two at home. Oops. I said something back to her that was rude and disrespectful. Honestly, I don’t even remember what it was I said. All I remember was the movement from a location that I didn’t know was occupied. Up from the chair HE arose. I was about to experience what it means when the Bible said, “The wrath of the Father is being poured out on the ungodly.” My life was flashing before my eyes.
I wish I could say I was never again rude or disrespectful to my mom. Unfortunately, I am not that smart. What I can be sure of is that I had trouble sitting down for more than a few days. I am also positive that I made a subconscious glance in that direction before saying something stupid and disrespectful for a much longer time than that.
React: Some of us have never matured beyond having the attitude of a teenager. We are still convinced that we know everything. We still think that death, or difficulty will never catch up with us. We still think the world revolves around us. Maybe we don’t speak and act and think this way when we are dealing with our family, neighbors or coworkers, but spiritually, we are still teenagers.
When a storm comes up, we yell at God. When the boat starts to rock a little too much, we whine and complain. Even worse, every time we sin, we are mocking and disrespecting all that Jesus has done for us. We think we can keep getting away with it and that no one is noticing. But one day He will step off that throne. One day we will learn what it means to experience the wrath of the Father. Our God is a just God. And we… sometimes, we need to just grow up.
Father God, please give me a renewed respect for Your holiness. Give me a healthy fear of Your wrath. Help me to balance an understanding of Your mercy with Your justice. Most of all, help me to better realize just how much I do not even begin to realize. You are so much wiser, so much stronger, so much more faithful, so much more powerful, and so much more just than I can even begin to comprehend let alone emulate. In those times when my arrogance wants to rise up and dictate to You what You should do help me to shut up. Help me to grow up. You alone are God.