In a podcast I recently listened over at The God Journey, Darrin Hufford shared a story of the Supper Nanny dealing with the father of a little boy. This boy was seeing the video player in their living room as a ‘toy’ and was trying to insert his sandwich into it. His Dad came running, furious and said a series of loud 'NO's, yelling and trying to stop him. But Nanny took a different approach and explained to the Dad that during such times, show the boy a better toy and turn his attention to that toy instead of telling him bitter 'No's which is only good to make him sad or rebel further. Sometimes he wouldn't even realize why he should stop what he is doing.
Darrin mentioned, 30% of the kids who are brought up under strict, hardcore, ‘NO’, ‘DO NOT’, ‘STOP’ rules will have a low self esteem when they become adults. I agree with him.
I think the super nanny got that principle from New Testament.
It is the Grace of God what teaches us to say "No" to unrighteousness - Titus 2:12
This is against the popular belief that it is the law what teaches us to live a righteous life.
Paul also makes it clear that ‘the power of sin is in the law’ - I Cor. 15:56
This is not so hard to prove, especially if you have children. Tell them No for all the bad things they do and see the results. It is like, people paying no attention to a hole in the wall unless you write 'do not look through the hole' on top of it. All of a sudden, because of the law, everybody wants to look!
As Christians, we have something better than law to enable us to live a righteous life.
When I was born into this world, I was born spiritually dead. It is as if being born in the street, homeless. Then I live in the street, hungry and miserable until I come to my senses and realize that there is a huge inheritance, a beautiful palace (of the King), waiting for me to go and live in and it is totally FREE. As long as I live in the street, not knowing that there is a palace where I can go and live in harmony, it doesn’t matter how many people come and tell me to ‘stop living in the street’, I will continue to live there trying hard to make the best out of it. But once I move into the palace, and begin to explore the beauty, luxury, peace, joy and coziness of the place, I hardly want to go back to the street again.
I might still go at times due to some of my old memories (habits) but soon I will realize I am acting as a fool by living in the dirt when I have a world-class home to live in and enjoy. Or someone has to gently remind me of the beautiful palace and then I will run to it.
Believe me, living in the palace is better than living in the street! Grace is better than law!
God is not dealing with us on the basis of sin today. He said, he took it away at the cross, never to see them again. And it has been removed from His sight as far as the east is from the west. Today, we have better things to deal with.
As long as we preach, teach, think, read and write about law, all we are talking is sin, sin and sin. It doesn't matter what law it is, 10 commandments, our own Christian principles, NT principles, the do's and don't's of Sermon on the mount or what ever.
If I am dealing with a sin of over-eating (for example) and trying to stop it, any or all of the following could happen:
- A short victory (most likely a very short one)
- Thinking about food all the time and end up eating more
- Infatuation with self
- Feeling miserable and struggle with self-pity due to failure
- Feeling rejected by God
- Burn-out and depression
This is where the truth of New Covenant or the covenant of grace, which has been buried under the faulty teaching of religion over the centuries, comes for our rescue.
Under this covenant, which came into effect by the death of Christ (Heb. 9:17), which was prophesied centuries before by Jeremiah, 'I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more' (Jeremiah 31:34). It is not just the forgiveness but note the forgetfulness.
This understanding of the finished work of Christ and the finality of the cross is what enables us to totally take our focus from sins. But that is not possible if we have no better place to put our focus on. Today, He deals with us on the basis of His LIFE in us, the new life, our new identity in Him which made us a child of the most high. We don't have to live in dirt now, spending all our energy to stop sinning; instead we could spend our energy and time to discover the treasures we have in Christ (the new life), and naturally we will have only less time to think about sin. We are King's kids now and supposed to live in palace and we have better things to deal with!