Sojourners. That’s what we are.
Sojourn: to reside temporarily. A temporary stay; a brief period of residence (free dictionary.com).
We touched on this idea last time. Lately, this idea of sojourning just stays with me…it echoes, it reverberates. I may forget temporarily, but it comes back around again. I think that many, like me, can lose sight of this biblical principle, daily. Others will not accept it. Some have simply never even thought about it. We really are just…passing through…and rather quickly.
Sojourning is an important concept to remember as we live together with others (as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, co-workers, or strangers in a grocery store check-out line). This truth, that our lives are much more than this life, must inform our thinking, our speaking, and our doing.
Let’s remember the model for The Family Workshop is hearing and doing, based on this scripture: Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock (Matt 7:24-25).
When we apply hearing and doing the Word, to teaching our children, we construct a biblical worldview which revolutionizes our parenting. We hear what the Word tells us, and then we “do” it in our own lives, and we “do” it with them, in their lives. And living the Word transforms us all. Doing is application, implementation, utilization, and/or practice of the eternal and perfect Word, in our transient and messy lives.
I promised practical application in parenting today and, forgive me, but I am taking the long way. If we have to start “doing” somewhere, let’s begin doing with this idea: today, and every day, let’s maintain the understanding that we are sojourners, that we are not of this world. First, let’s hear it from God’s Word:
We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:18, NIV 1984).
For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow (Job 8:9).
O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! (Psalm 39:4).
And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land” (1 Peter 1:17, NLT).
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 3:19-20).
Now that we have heard this Word, the wisdom can infiltrate our decision-making and transform our hearts. The Word can be incorporated into our firm foundation. Application of a biblical principle, to our thinking, makes it part of our worldview. And here is where parenting comes in…it is our job to transmit our biblical worldview to the next generation:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them 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 (Deut. 6:6-7).
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that kids will learn all they need to know about the LORD in Sunday school, VBS, AWANAS, or Youth Group. The Church should be a great support to parents; but it has become for many kids, out of necessity, the primary spiritual influence…unless it isn’t; unless they find their truth elsewhere, outside of Christianity.
The principle that this life is temporary, but life with (or without) the Lord is eternal, really puts things into perspective. Scripture is consistent in telling us how to be in relationship with the LORD – by meeting Him through, and living according to, His Word.
Moses said to the Israelites, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life…” (Deut 32:46-47)
And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut 8:3).
Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63).
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me (John 14:23-24).
So far I have shown the concept of sojourning is something we can hear about in the Word. The question is, how do we do this? How do we live as sojourners? Stay with me here. The best thing we can do is give the Word, which is the Truth, and all of it, to our kids. Let them hear it, and then live it with them – this is doing. So, we tell them we are sojourners.
- In a world of “I just want to fit in, at any cost”, sojourners don’t fit in, never will, and don’t need to. Rather, they are “called out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
- In a world of “the one who dies with the most toys, wins”, sojourners don’t place too much stock “in treasure that moths and dust can destroy” (Matt 6:19).
- In a world of “nice guys finish last” sojourners know that the last shall be first (Matt 20:16).
- In a world obsessed with eating and dieting, with shopping and showing off, sojourners know that we must “not be anxious about what we eat or wear…that we should seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt 6:25, 33).
When you study the Word together with your kids, these kinds of applications present themselves to you. You read, and memorize, and study together and then you…talk about it “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” You can discuss, how does that look in our lives today? And when they come to you with a life problem, concern or question, there is a foundation already laid for teaching. Our priorities are already set. Or when they create a discipline problem, concern or question, there is a foundation already laid for teaching. Our standard is in place. When you encounter a “teachable moment” in your own life, there is a foundation already laid for teaching. We see ourselves as learners too.
As I sojourn with my children, teaching them from the Word, I find the LORD teaching me. This is a double harvest. Isn’t He good?