Thursday, February 26, 2009

Paper Airplanes

I don't know about you, but some of my best devotional times come when I'm in the shower. That might seem a bit strange but it's one of the few times that I have complete peace and quiet. I'm able to praise and pray to my heart's content without interruption. The other day I was doing just that, pouring out my heart to the Lord and begging for wisdom in teaching my boys the importance of spiritual disciplines. And it's not just my boys who need help in this area; I need to be more consistent as well. A friend recently said she felt that the words "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love." could have been written just for her. It could be my theme song as well. My faithful God answered me right away and gave me a wonderful illustration to share with my boys. I used it during our morning worship the other morning and it seems to have stuck. Here's how it went:

I sat down with a piece of paper and said, "What if I gave you a piece of paper and the instructions for folding a paper airplane and asked you to make an airplane that would fly across the room? Suppose you took those materials and decided that you would ignore the instructions and just do it your own way. (At this point I loosely crumbled up the ball of paper.) Would this airplane fly? (I smoothed out the paper and made it flat again.) Now suppose you followed some of the instructions but not others. (I folded the paper in half, down one side, made one wing.) Is this airplane going to fly? (I smoothed out the paper again) What if you followed all of the instructions but you did it half-heartedly and in a sloppy manner? (I did just that, not folding carefully along the correct lines) Do you think this plane is going to fly? (I smoothed out the paper again.) Now what if I follow all of the directions very carefully? Is this plane going to fly? (I flew it to prove that it would.) Can you see how this applies to our spiritual lives?" (We had a bit of a discussion at this point as they processed the information and shared their ideas).

We discussed how important it is to know and follow all of God's instructions as found in the Bible. We also talked about how sometimes we just go through the motions, so to speak, without involving our hearts and how ineffective that is. Now, if I see that they are neglecting personal time with the Lord or are ignoring His commands, I just ask them something like, "How's your airplane flying today? Did you read the instructions? Are you following them carefully?" They have been responding more favorably and I've noticed that their morning prayer time has become more consistent. Sanctification is a process and we all have a way to go. I hope that this illustration will bless others as much as it has blessed us.

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