The sound of legos being scooped up and dumped back into their rightful containers is the sound of music to any mothers ear. But this sound is not typically a voluntarily action in our home, it is often a reaction to a threat, plea or bribe. In this instance it is a four-year old child whom in the last week identified one of her five favorite things as “not cleaning!” Her cleaning is not an act of service but rather an act of selfish obedience; “If I do this good thing than I get this better thing.”
This week in my Isaiah study I am reflecting on the covenant promises of God, the conditional and unconditional. The conditional being agreements between God and man who require follow-through and commitment on both accounts to uphold the promise. The un-conditional have no stipulations but are a divine gift from God. As often modeled in the Bible through the Father and Son relationship, what can I learn of promises? What can I glean as a parent about covenants?What are the things in my past or life story that have allowed me to grasp this unconditional gift from God?
This caused me to reflect on my parenting and take a conscious inventory of the number of times in the day I use “conditional” agreements with my kids. I understand the importance of raising a child to be responsible and disciplined but do I always check my motives to ensure that I am asking them to do things that benefit their best interests not just make my life easier? Do they understand that my love for them is not based on how clean their room is, or if they remembered to pick their coat up off the floor? Am I clearly communicating with them in my daily actions the unconditional love that I have for them as a parent.
I have this little certificate tucked away in a safe spot. It was a Christmas present from my dad, the back he signed and dated 12-24-1985. Out of the five us growing up I am the only one who I know of that still has this little green business card. I don’t know if my siblings used theirs or lost theirs, I find it amazing in a way that I still have mine. I bet I certainly could have used it or should have, but I hung on to it nevertheless. Growing up I learned my share about conditional promises and consequences of not holding my end up. I also knew deep down that my Dad loved me and few things could jeopardize that. This little card symbolized a promise of that love, a secure thing that I had in writing, a promise of forgiveness no matter what trouble I was in. Although I never used this symbolic card I have redeemed another from my heavenly Father.
We all have been issued a green card – an unconditional pardon. It is not something tangible that you hold with your hands but rather with your heart. There is no condition on it, you don’t have to wipe the mud off your feet first or kick that habit, you just have to come before the Father. Do you know of his unconditional love for you? Do you know he is waiting for you to redeem your pardon by calling on his name and believing in Him.
Jeremiah 31: 31- 34
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Romans 10: 9-13
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”