Any righteousness that is in me comes from my relationship with the Lord... all the way down to how I treat my parents and children... how I act when I'm with family.
That's scary because it is often with the people I love most that I my behavior is at its worst! What does that say about my relationship with the Lord?
Isn't there something spiritual that happens when we get saved that changes us? The Word says we are a new creation... old things have gone, new things have come! I want more of the new and less of the old, but it sure seems that operate in the old an awful lot.
So, if a child has not truly accepted the Lord, can he be expected to honor his parents? And once a child has committed her life to the Lord, does it make her more capable of honoring them?
And will parents who have given their lives to the Lord automatically become better parents? Are these just more rules to follow in Ephesians 6? Because I seem to have a hard time following all the rules!
Maybe they're not so much rules to follow, but guidelines to show us wrong from right. Because if we're not believers, followers of the Lord, we might not know how important it is to honor our parents or discipline our children. It is a commandment, yes, but that's what the law is for--to show us right and wrong. So the law tells us what to do, but the Spirit enables us to do it, right? We need both. We can't obey the law without the Spirit.
But wait, some people are good who aren't necessarily Christians. Maybe that's because right and wrong have been obvious in a Christian nation. But the lines between right and wrong are becoming more blurred. So we need the law. We can't depend on the idea that accepted practices and behaviors will guide us in the right direction.
Yes, we need the law, and we need the Spirit--the regeneration that happens when we commit ourselves to God. Yet even with the Spirit, we still fail! Why?
Maybe it's because we need even more than the Law and the Spirit. We need grace! Maybe our constant failure has a purpose--to show us how desperate we are for grace. Even though the law lets us know what's right and wrong, and the Spirit gives us to power to do what's right, we still fail. And we fall on our faces before God as He pours His grace on us again and again. And we get back up and try again... and maybe we do a little better this time.
Maybe this is the process of sanctification. We are becoming holy, more like God through this process. But it IS a process. I want it to happen all at once--at the point of salvation--but that's not how it works. At the point of salvation, we receive the Law, the Spirit, and Grace. And those three things work in us, as much as we'll let them, to sanctify us, purify us, and make us Holy as the Lord is Holy.
So I continue walking this process... learning the law, seeing how I've failed, being empowered by the Spirit to succeed, failing again, allowing grace to wash over me, then trying again. And each time, I'm just a little purer... a little shinier... a tiny bit more reflective... until one day, the Almighty Refiner will look at me and see His own reflection... Oh, what a glorious day that will be!