Outward Behavior vs. Inward Transformation

It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. (Galatians 6:15)

I hate to admit it, but I used to spend a substantial amount of time trying to get my children to be all that I think they should be.

The problem was that I focused so much on their outward behavior that I forgot to address the environment of their hearts. This year I decided that rather than trying to make my children all of the things that I want from them, all at once, I would slow down and focus on one thing at a time. This way I could get deep in their hearts. I have the type of personality that wants it all and wants it now, and if I were completely honest, I want my children to make me look good. I want them to make me look like I have it all together. God, however, is teaching me that just about everything in life is a process, and my children were not put here to bring me glory, but rather to bring glory to God.

You see, for over 9 years, I had been a single mom and I didn’t even come close to “having it together.” I was a mess. Everything in me wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted desperately to get it together – to have the family life that everyone else had. I had bought in to the lie that my children were destined for setbacks and failure because their family was broken. My tender-​loving mama’s heart wanted so much more for them than that. What I learned, many years after striving so hard, is that no one has it together and it is only by the grace of God that any parent — single or not — can train their children in the way they should go.

If you’re a mom, you know how hard it is to “keep it together.” If you’re a single mom…it’s infinitely harder.

But God says nothing is impossible with Him. (Luke 1:37)

In Galatians 6, Paul warns the church (us) that circumcision is simply for outward appearance. It’s to make you look good. Paul goes on to say that what is more important is the transformation from within. I focused for so many years on the outward behavior of my children — forgetting to plant what I desired to see in their hearts. As a single mom I always felt as if I were merely surviving. I felt like I was totally unable to take the time to really pour into my children, and that their outward behavior was evidence of that.

You see, outward behavior just for the sake of behavior will never last. Our children will always go back to the sinfulness that we are all born with. However, when we teach them to obey out of love and out of an overflowing heart for the things of God, He transforms us from the inside out and the outward behavior naturally follows.

So how do we, as busy moms (especially single moms), find the time to pour into our children when our lives are so demanding and hectic?

  1. Deuteronomy 6:7 – “You shall teach [God’s Words] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
  2. Start small – Don’t feel like you have to long devotions as a family, or read a lengthy bible story at night before they go to bed. I set myself up for failure many times when I try start too big. Just start somewhere — in the car, when you are having dinner, when you are bathing them, or while playing Legos. Just as Moses instructed us in Deuteronomy.
  3. Let go of the guilt – God knew before you were born that your circumstances would be what they are. If you are a single mom who feels like she doesn’t have time to sit and have family devotions or the energy to read a bible story at the end of the day, let God know. Tell him how you feel. And give God the rest! Shout for joy at the little accomplishments, knowing that God’s word never returns void.

So what about you? What will you do today that will plant a small seed in the hearts of your children? Start small, keep fertilizing, and watch as they grow into oaks of righteousness!

About Allison Herrin

Allison is passionate about ministering to the hearts of women.  She is a self-​​proclaimed, mistake makin mess, learning to live with a heart of reckless abandon.  Coming from a past of sexual abuse, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity and more, Allison knows personally what the […]

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  1. Christie Rainwater says:

    Great post!

  2. Christie Rainwater says:

    Great post!

  3. Hey Christie. Thanks so much!

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