Consideration is not a spontaneous attitude of the human heart.
You can’t manufacture it, or fake it, or require it. You can’t grit your teeth and make it happen.
Consideration is shaped and produced by the Spirit of God who lives in you.
In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul gives us a list of “fruit” that the Spirit produces when He has his way in the human heart. Look at the list carefully…
- self control
Consideration is the Spirit’s combining of those qualities into an attitude of the heart that says “others first.” It guides our speech (Ephesians 4:29), the use of any gifts the Spirit gives us (1 Corinthians 14:12), and moves us to think deeply about how we can contribute to the good and growth of others (Hebrews 10:24).
It’s an attitude that is more like Jesus than any I know.
The power of consideration in the family
It’s in the family that we are often at our worst. Irritable. Impatient. Demanding. Selfish.
The people we should be closest to and most careful with are the ones who bear the brunt of our sinful ways.
And we know it shouldn’t be that way. That’s why hurts received within the family are the longest lasting and most debilitating.
So… stop for a moment to imagine a different outcome… what would it be like if your family could break that mould? What if bickering was replaced with blessing? What if jealousy and strife were replaced with affirmation and unity? What if, when others thought of your family, your peaceful, gracious, loving attitudes toward one another came immediately to mind?
It humbles me to say it, but that’s exactly what the LORD has done in my family. I don’t say it to brag or lift us up… just to give you some hope that it’s possible for the LORD to do some amazing things when we submit ourselves to His work. The mindset of consideration, based on love for each other, is a significant part of what has enabled my wife and I to grow in marriage intimacy, our kids to treat each other with respect and love and honor us as their parents, and make our home a place of peace instead of conflict.
- love to be expressed.
- needs to be noticed & met.
- selfishness to diminish.
- pride to die.
- conflicts to cease.
- the peace of Christ to reign.
Consideration happens through humble dependence on the Spirit
It’s always difficult to explain the “how” of something like this, because the way of the LORD doesn’t allow for a formulaic approach. I can’t give you a 1-2-3 process to follow that will enable the members of your family to have consideration toward each other.
Don’t misunderstand, we have a part to play, but it’s the Spirit of God who equips and empowers us to understand and implement our part.
Here’s how I see it…
- the Spirit of God/Christ comes to live in you when you are born again (Romans 10:9)
Resist the tendency to think that the Spirit’s presence in your life is is an ethereal, unreal thing, or that the idea is only figurative. I assure you, the Person of the Holy Spirit is as real as the air you breathe… and much more significant. The scripture clearly tells us that if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, He has given you His Spirit, both as a guarantee of your salvation (Ephesians 1:14) and as your source of guidance and power for daily living (Galatians 5:16).
Do whatever you need to do to help you truly believe this. You will never experience the reality of the Spirit of God in your life if you don’t believe He’s truly in you.
- His presence in your life becomes your only resource for living (2 Timothy 1:7)
You and I are very used to living in our own strength. We have developed all kinds of strategies, emotional responses, and ways of thinking to enable us to handle the difficulties and challenges of life. Call them bad habits, call them flesh patterns, call then sinful tendencies. Whatever you call them they mean that the way you handle life is not the Spirit’s way, it’s your way. It’s independence instead of dependence.
Learning to depend on the Spirit for guidance and power for every situation is a real challenge, because everything you’ve done to make it in the world is designed to enable you to handle things on your own. Dependence on Him is exactly what you need, and the hardest thing to have. Ask Him to help you give up your own ways in deference to His.
- Rather than seeking “steps” to implement on our own, we need to be seeking a relationship with the Spirit (John 16:13 / John 14:17)
Relationship is key, here. You don’t need strategies or principles. You need to live your life under the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. You need to learn to “hear” His still, small voice in your daily life. One caution here… the devil will try to take advantage of your openness. He’ll try to insert thoughts and feelings of his making and convince you that it’s the Spirit talking to you. How do you know the difference?
You take everything that comes to you to the word of God (the Bible). If anything in the scriptures is contrary to what you thought the Spirit was telling you, then it’s not the Spirit. Stick to the word of God. Always. As you do that, pursue deep relationship with Jesus through the Spirit.
- It is this relationship that produces the fruit in our lives that combines to become consideration (Galatians 5:22-23)
The temptation is to use the “fruit of the spirit” as a checklist of things we need to be working on. While I appreciate the intentionality of that approach, it’s a bit off. Paul’s point in giving us the list is not to give us a series of checkboxes we are to make sure we’re doing. He’s describing what it looks like when the Spirit of God, who lives inside us, is doing His work in and through us. It’s a list of the kinds of things we will see naturally coming out of us (or should I say, “supernaturally”) when we are submitted fully to the work of the Spirit of God within us.
Look at the entire chapter of Galatians 5 again. Let the Spirit show you that it is HIS work through you that matters.
From there, you have GOT to be talking about these things with your family… from day one.
The Christian life is one of expressing the life of Christ. Jesus in us, living through us… that’s the point. If we as Christian parents are not aiming for that goal in ourselves and in our kids, we might as well hang it up now.
But as I said at the beginning of this post, consideration doesn’t come naturally. It’s like exercise, or healthy eating. It takes conviction and hard work. Every person in your family has to become convinced of the value and necessity of it… and that happens through conversation about the real situations of life.
But before you go there, you have to have some scriptural foundation. Passages that focus on love for one another, our obligation to be kind and compassionate — those are topics your family has to be intimately familiar with because you talk about them so much. You have to be continually holding it out as a vision for your family. Then you can address the real-life contexts where consideration is needed:
- conflicts over possessions
- disagreements about curfew or household chores
- disciplinary times
- doing “extra” work for the sake of others
- not leaving clothes or other items strewn all over the house
These and thousands more are opportunities to talk about the ongoing need to love through consideration. They are “rubber meets the road” situations where Jesus can come on-line to empower even the youngest member of the family to do His work in the present moment.
Where to go from here: Questions to ask yourself
- What kind of example of consideration am I being in the primary relationships I have (marriage, with kids, etc.)?
- Am I willing to submit this area to the leadership of the Spirit? What will it take for me to do that?
- How committed am I to developing an atmosphere of consideration in my family?
- Am I willing to have ongoing conversations about the subject, even when it seems monotonous or wearisome?
You can do this… because the Spirit of God lives in you.
He wants to lead you to lead your family into His joy as you learn to make consideration a powerful part of your home. Take some time to work through the questions above in your own soul. Ask the Spirit to guide you to the place of knowing how to make change in your life and family.
The video below bemoans the world we live in on one hand, but gives us hope that WE can make a difference in it through the way we live toward others on the other hand. The chorus says,
“Is this the world you want? Is this the world you want? You’re making it every day you’re alive. You change the world everyday you’re alive. You start to look like you believe…”
It’s my challenge to you to take your life more seriously. Take your responsibility for your family more seriously. Begin to believe that radical faith for generations is what God wants for you and your family. Begin to believe that He just might do what He says He will.
If YOU can’t change the path and attitude of your family in the power of the Spirit, who can?