Monday, April 02, 2007

Good Dogs; Good Kids

I have a little 7 year old Boston Terrier named MacGyver. I admit to a swelling of pride when others tell me what a good dog he is. He really is. He is great with kids. He comes when called. He doesn't jump on or bark at guests. I don't think he knows how to bite! And for the most part, he is no trouble at all.

I can't really expect much more from a dog, can I? But if I were a parent, would I be happy with "good kids"? Would I be satisfied with kids that just didn't embarrass me? Relieved to hear when I pick them up at preschool that they didn't bite anyone that day? Satisfied if they never succumbed to alcohol, drugs or sexual temptations? Content with mere obedience? Would my goal just be kids that don't give me any trouble?

Now I'm not a parent, but I have many friends and a sister who are doing an awesome job raising their kids. Naturally, they want their kids to be "good." But I see in them a desire for something more than kids that merely just behave. They're endeavoring to build character into their kids. They're willing to work through the difficult times with their kids, knowing what really matters in the long run is the heart.

Likewise, God want more from me than to just be a "good kid." In Romans 12:1, the Apostle Paul exhorts us to not be conformed to this world. But sometimes it seems like we pull away from the world, only to wrap ourselves firmly around some other man-made expectations. Paul goes on to say that, rather than be conformed to this world, we need to be transformed, and our minds renewed. Not outwardly impressing others or doing things that meet with the Christian status quo. Not seeking the approval of others or endeavoring at all costs to avoid conflict, in the name of peace. But changed from the inside out; a work that can only be brought about by the power of Christ.

"Good" is easy. It's achievable and measurable. Transformed - well, that's a lifelong process. And the process may not always feel so good or look so pretty. But if we submit to God's transforming process in our lives, in the end, we will hear that approval we so deeply long for: "Well done, good and faithful servant." If transformation is our desire, "good" will be a natural outcome.


gail said...

Very, very good Dianne. And it is a lifelong process, and sometimes a lesson I have to learn over and over.

Jennifer said...

Dianne, this is such an encouragement to me, because "good" doesn't come easy. Yes, it's easy to see and measure what a well-behaved child looks like (and unfortunately mine don't always fit the bill), but it's not so easy to measure some of the things that I think they are developing--kindness, tolerance, love for God. I'm still working on both areas!

Katrina said...

Okay, I have to admit that sometimes I'm happy when I get through a situation and my kids managed to be "good enough"! But yes, there is always a desire to see them develop true character, true integrity. I love your comparison to us before God. When I was a teenager, I was often "good" on the outside, but sneaking around behind my parents' backs, etc. I don't want to be like that with God. I want to truly grow to be more holy, not just "good." Thanks for these thoughts, Dianne.

Oh, and I think MacGyver is a great dog, too! :)

Tammy said...

This was wonderful and so very true...there is a difference in just good behavior, and letting ourselves become transformed.
Same with children, you are right...I don't want my children to simply "be good"...I want their hearts to be pure and to love God and grow closer to Him.
It's tempting for me to harp on a behavior issue, and not probe a little deeper- to the heart.
Great post, Diane!

Kathleen Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen Marie said...

There is a good reason God gave us a free will, the ability to think and articulate and so much more. He gave us dreams, desires, visions, goals.

God is just so good and he loves us so much, just the way we are and he so wants us to be the best we can be.


Kelly said...

Great insights! You are so right-good is easy, many times something accomplished in our own strength. How transformation only comes from Him. Thanks for reminding me of this!

Christina Berry said...

But I can get my kids to behave when I wave a treat in front of their noses! ;-)

PatK said...

Found your blog through CWO - such an encouragement, Dianne. I'm speaking at a Ladies Conference here in the UK at the end of April about exactly this - using the example of being clay in the Potter's Hand. We are so often impatient with God's interim stages of transforming us into His likeness, but the end result will be so worth it

Keep on encouraging

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

I loved this post! Loved it. Its right in line with my thinking lately, thinking that's instigating changes from deep inside, just about to burst forth. "Good Kid" summed it up completely.