So it has been hard to keep it all focused and moving ahead, this unwieldy teaching that is in my heart, this life of lessons the LORD has given to me that has made sense of the things that didn’t make sense to me before…so I hope to be moving forward and building this teaching into something that can bring the Word of God and the experiences of life together in one place. Forgive me if this rambles a bit more than usual today. And while the word “argument” has a negative connotation, and the word “case” has a legal connotation, I would like to lay out my argument and build a case for this thing that I am calling The Family Workshop.
First, we must build our lives on the Word of God. 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 (Matthew 7:24-25). This is our key verse and it reveals a wonderful truth that we have talked about extensively – hearing and doing are foundational to building our House (our lives, our family, our church) upon the Rock that is not shaken.
Hear: We must hear the Word, daily and throughout the day. We hear the Word when we read it and when we: study it, memorize it, discuss it with others, listen to sermons, listen to music that quotes it, read other things that teach and quote it (devotionals, *blogs*, books), and when we pray it to the LORD. As a note, when we pray the Word, we hear it as we say it to Him…this is powerful! There is a great book that I love called Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Spiritual Growth (amazon link); maybe you would like it too? I am sure there are many more ways to hear the Word, but this is just a quick list. The important thing is that we must use the actual Word as much as possible. If we are not careful, our worldview can be watered down by reading and listening and incorporating other people’s interpretations into our thinking. Because of this, we should always hold up the things we are putting in our minds, next to the Bible, to make sure that anything claiming to be “Christian” or “spiritual” is in agreement with the Bible, which is the only Word of God.
Do: If we have heard the Word, and we believe it to be true, then we cannot be unchanged. We are compelled to take it and live it – to do the Word. We start by being intentional to create a Biblical Worldview. A worldview is the way we look at our own life and the world around us – our experiences and beliefs and choices, these create our worldview. You could have a secular worldview, a New Age Worldview, an agnostic worldview, a “spiritual” but not completely Christian worldview… Whether you know it or not, you have a worldview.
So we must turn our eyes inward and examine our own hearts…is there anything there that has crept in that is not “of the Word” but instead is “of the World”? Many deeply held ideas and beliefs are based on experiences we’ve had, and sometimes they color our thinking in ways we aren’t aware of. Maybe your parents did not teach you with the Word; and as a result, worldly ways of operating in life and relationships, have stuck. Maybe the way you have been treated by others has not been the example of love we see in Christ, and in the Word, and these experiences have taught you to deal with others in the same worldly way that they have dealt with you. Maybe some of your thoughts and words and choices have led you more into the world, rather than into the Word. It is one or the other, either the world or the Word, in each case. We MUST be intentional about the way we live our lives, work with others, raise our children, love our husbands, think our thoughts, say our words…the way we do everything.
We must use the Word like a photographer uses a filter: Filters modify the images recorded. Sometimes they are used to make only subtle changes to images; other times the image would simply not be possible without them (Thanks again wiki!). With the Word we interpret, or see, our life differently. Ok, cool thing about the Word: when we hear it and begin to do it, it changes our lives so that, through it, others can see us differently. Then the Word is filtering not just the image we see, but also the image we project to others! Here is how it breaks down, straight from the Word:
- How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:9-11)
- For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13). Remember here that Jesus is the Word (John 1:1-4).
- Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2, NLT).
- Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, Who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:17-21).
So what does this mean to us, in terms of The Family Workshop? Well, first we must be intentional to hear and do His Word in everything (as individuals, within our marriages, and in our parenting). Here is the mercy of the LORD: we may not feel equipped to do the Word in our own lives, much less do it in our relationships in such a way that we reflect the image of God to others BUT, he equips those He calls (Hebrews 13:20-21). When He called prophets, the LORD gave them the words to say (Num 12:6). When He called craftsmen build His Tabernacle, the LORD gave them the skills (Ex 31:11). When Moses had to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, the LORD showed him the way to go (Ex 13:21-22).
If we are faithful and obedient to begin this work of building our House Upon His Word, we will see how faithful the LORD is. He will give us the words to say, He will give us the skills we need, He will show us the way to go. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thess 5:24).
Next week, we will study what the Word has to say about marriage (just in time for Valentine’s week!). Whether you are single, happily/unhappily married, divorced, widowed…learning what the LORD says about marriage is important to you! Studying the biblical view of marriage is important to everyone because, in everything, He is also teaching us about Himself: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:31-33).