The War to Love: Three Spiritual Battle fronts for the Disciplining Mom

Friends, today I would like to introduce you to my friend, Whitney. Whitney is a godly young wife and mother of 3 and she will be one of the Guest Bloggers you will be reading from time to time. She has written a little about herself at the conclusion of her posting. 

Sisters and friends, I have been reminded of these things during the past week and share them in hopes that it will etch them deeper in my own mind and remind you of the weightiness of the task you have at hand. I have faced several rather difficult hours this week of back-and-forth disobedience between my two boys. Serious heart talks back and forth in the bedroom between them did little to deter their behavior. When I returned to the kitchen (while food was long delayed in its journey to the oven and stove) I would immediately find the other one doing something foolish or disobedient.  These difficult moments this week reminded me of something that I lose sight of very quickly in frenzied hours like this: EVERY TIME I DISCIPLINE MY CHILD THERE IS  A SERIOUS SPIRITUAL BATTLE.

Let me briefly remind you of three areas of spiritual battle when you discipline:

Spiritual battle in your child’s heart
If you are disciplining a child it is because of the presence of sin: disobedience, rebellion, lying, anger, lack of self-control. Where there is sin, there is warfare. There is a battle in his flesh and in that moment flesh is winning over righteousness. The sin that controls that little child’s heart has a grasp on him that has “blinded his eyes to the Gospel of truth.” The sin being fought in that moment is part of the great war for his heart! Pray that the Holy Spirit would triumph over the darkness in your child. This is not just a battle for compliant behavior or righteous living. This is a war that your child would recognize his sin and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of it and freedom from it.

Spiritual battle in your own heart
Let’s face it- A huge war of temptation is present in us as we discipline. It is a war against impatience, frustration, pride, anger, lack of self-control, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, malice. It’s the fight to be tenderhearted and forgiving. It’s a fight to talk and walk in humility.  I think my theme verse for parenting has become:

     Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV)

Pray for yourself! Don’t let sin creep into your heart and out through your actions and words (and tone of voice) when you are trying to fight this battle!

Spiritual battle in the parent child relationship
Sin destroys relationships. As your child walks in sin, and you (potentially) respond in sin, there is a battle. The Enemy would love to attack the relationship between you and your son. He would love to build a barricade of bitterness, anger, falsehood, and pride between you and your child. He would love to tear away the trust the two of you stand on. Fight the battle against your sin when you deal with your child’s sin because sin can destroy the relationship you share with him.

Ultimately, It is a Battle for Love!

    Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV)

This is a battle for love! It is a battle for the love of God in the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to triumph over the sin in your child’s heart. It is a battle for you to walk in the love of God that He has demonstrated to you in sending His own son to die for your sins. It is a battle for love to triumph in your family as you fight sin with humility and foster love, respect, and trust between you and your child. What does this require of us, moms? It requires clinging to the beauty of the Gospel, walking in the forgiveness that God has showered us with, and patiently extending that love out to our children who are sinners just like us.

Whitney Standlea is a Christian, a wife, and the mother of three little people. She finds herself floundering through this difficult journey called parenting and is thankful for God's grace over each step, jump, and fall along the way. She loves to snuggle with her entire family, plays piano, and enjoys writing (sporadically). I hope you’ll be encouraged by whatever you read and find some resources to help you in your own daily life. You can find her blogs here