Monday, September 10, 2012

Building Character: Alertness

 As a family, we are studying a character trait each week, and are beginning with the Fruits of the Spirit.  This week we are moving beyond the Fruits of the Spirit and will be working through the remaining character traits in alphabetical order, but you can go back and read Love, Joyfulness, Peaceable, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness and Gentleness and Self-Control.  If you want more information on the nuts and bolts of what we are doing, you can read how to get started on this post.

This week we are talking about ALERTNESS vs. unawareness.
It is not so much about caf. vs. decaf, but is really about working towards not being so self-consumed that we miss important things going on, especially in regards to the people we are called to serve.  Again, I think I get more out of these studies than my children.  And that is ok.  "More is caught than taught", so as I work onto making my character what it needs to be, hopefully my children will see and will imitate.

ALERTNESS vs. unawareness

Being aware of what is happening around me so I can have the right response.

Mark 14:38 - "Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

I believe each family's struggles with alertness could look a little different.  It could be:
  • a child that tends to have her head in the clouds most of the time - a daydreamer
  • a child that is intensely focused on a task, but ignores other important things
  • an introverted child (or an introverted parent)
  • a mother that is so distracted by her phone/facebook/blogging that she is unaware of what is truly happening in her home and with her children

By the way, if that last one is you, you may be blessed to read this article by Ann Voskamp.   It's a little wordy and long, but be sure you read to the end.  There are some real gems to take away.  One of which I have put on a sticky on my computer:  "There is never any fruit without FOCUS."  And another that is now on my Home Management Notebook, "Habits are hard, but they make life easy."

Indeed.  It is something I have to constantly work on with myself.  Because I have a tendency to be all four of those things I listed above.  And a few of my "apples" are not far from the tree if you know what I mean. 

This week's Bible Story:  Jesus in the garden with his disciples
Mark 14:32-42

On the night when Jesus was arrested, he went with his disciples to the garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus was greatly troubled and said, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch".  Jesus knew that His death was imminent and it grieved Him terribly.  He knew what was coming and spent the time in prayer to His Father asking, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."  Jesus was preparing to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world.  He was preparing for an agonizing death, and for a period of total separation from His Father.  It was almost more than He could bear.  He asked Peter, James, and John to stay and pray, urging them to, "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation."  But they could not stay awake.  Three times Jesus found them sleeping.  It seems they did not realize what an important moment in time this was.  They were unaware.

Finally it was too late.  Judas came to betray Jesus with a kiss, and only a little later, Peter fell to temptation and denied Jesus three times.  If only Peter had stayed alert and prayed with Jesus.  If only he had been alert so as to have the right response.  If only... but it was too late.  

Our lesson teaches us just how important to redeem the time we are given and to be alert to what is happening in the moment.  If we waste important moments in our lives because we are unaware, we will not be able to get them back.  We must always be watching and praying.

  • Did Peter, James, and John know what was about to happen to Jesus?
  • Did Peter know that he was about to be tempted to sin?  (He should have!  Jesus warned him!)
  • Did Peter listen to Jesus when he said, "Watch and pray"?  
  • Sometimes we will have moments in our life where we are given a warning to "Watch and pray", what should we do when someone gives us that kind of wise counsel?
  •  The disciples were very tired.  Did Satan stop tempting them just because they were sleepy?  It is hard to do the right thing when we are tired, but we still need to obey.
Remember, "there is never any fruit without focus".  Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus.  He is the only thing that matters in this life.  The only thing.  Don't let Satan distract you and catch you unaware!

Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths."

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you I will be sharing your post on my fb page (Learning In The Home) as we focus on developing alertness this week.


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