[reprinted from November 17, 2010]
I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. Â Â 1 Timothy 3:14-15 (NLT)
â€œhousehold of Godâ€. Other translations call it â€œGodâ€™s familyâ€. â€œFamilyâ€. Does the word bring pictures to your mind of the Waltons? The Cleavers? Most may not know who those families are! They were families that lived together in unity. Today we have The Simpsons and the Modern Family and Dallas as role models. Not good. But even with God as the â€˜head of the householdâ€™, Iâ€™m afraid that as a member of His family I would have to describe us as more like the Family Feud than Father Knows Best! (That was another utopic family!)
â€˜Familyâ€™ is one of those tricky concepts that is wonderful and perfect on paper but sticky and imperfect in practical application. God has given us precepts that show us how we ought to conduct themselves in Godâ€™s household but too often my eyes are looking out for myself and my requirements for daily life and so my place in the family becomes a territorial battle! Churches are fighting and dying for reasons that may be stated as having to do with serving God the right way but have more to do with conducting worship or church business in the image and likeness of individual members.
Warning! Before you begin reading, this passage is for me and for you! No one is exempt!
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminalâ€™s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christâ€™s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. Â Â Â Philippians 2:1-16 (NLT)
Now thatâ€™s a long Scripture but worth reading a second or third time. As head of our household, God gave us His Son as an example of humility and right focus within the family. He is not asking anything of me that Jesus did not walk through, even family relationships. Jesusâ€™ natural brothers and sisters were no more or less than mine. They stayed as far away from Jesus as they could. They thought He was crazy. But James, Jesusâ€™ brother, was one of the first to see Him post-resurrection. His â€˜brothersâ€™ and â€˜sistersâ€™, the disciples, did not wear shiny halos all day and pluck harps on clouds. They were real people with â€˜fleshyâ€™ desires and sharp tongues! Peter, James, and John slept when He needed them to pray with Him. Peter denied he even knew Jesus. They all ran away and hid like frightened children in a secret room for fear they would be killed, too.
Yes, families are tricky things. I am grateful that my husband has placed God as head of our household. When I have concerns or Iâ€™m unhappy, I know Who to take my complaints to! When things are going well, I know Who to thank! I talk to God about my family. I trust Him to change me so I can be a quiet witness to them.
Letâ€™s go back now and read again the passage from Philippians. May it marinate my heart today.
Grandma’s Hands written and sung by Bill Withers
Note: I chose this song today because as a grandmother, I have become very conscious of the example and influence I can have â€“ or not â€“ for good or for not good. I have gotten some Holy Fear about my example.Â