" . . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2
It's happening. I'm being transformed. By God. Through the Word. And I love it.
Chad has been preaching through the Pentateuch (we're currently in Numbers) and God is teaching me so much through the parts of His Word that I in the past have (gasp) skipped right over. I've been studying Romans in my personal time with Jesus because I'm teaching Romans in Sunday School . . . knocking my socks off! I hate to admit it, but I've never studied Romans before. Always kinda intimidated me. But God has been speaking so clearly through His Word to confront and transform me and I actually see it, feel it happening.
There is way too much floating around my head to write it all down. Besides, half of it I haven't really processed yet! But I wanted to share just a few tidbits of what God is teaching me and challenging me in these days.
1. Pursuing Holiness . . . If you're in my Sunday School class, you're getting a sneak peak at this weeks lesson! Romans 6 talks about us being freed from our slavery to sin. Awesome news! But many of us stop here. We're free! Yippee! The reality is that we aren't really free, we just have a new Master. We're freed from sin to become slaves to Christ, slaves to righteousness. So what does this mean? We are now free to pursue holiness, godliness. Some of you are probably like, "Yeah, Cole. That is so simple." I thought so too until I really started praying about what it looks like for me to pursue holiness in ALL I do.
Example . . . there is a major famine going on in East Africa right now. Unspeakable numbers of people are dying. We've been praying for Easton's birth family, knowing that they are without a doubt being affected by this tragedy. Chad and I began talking about what we could do to help, how we could free up money to send. Through prayer, God showed me that an area where we could save money is in our food budget. You see, I had not been pursuing holiness when it came to planning our meals and grocery shopping. Of course I try to save money, but I hadn't been making it a matter of holiness, an area to bring glory to God. If I look at meal planning in this way, with a strong desire for God to be glorified in how I do this simple, sometimes mundane part of a mom's life, then not only am I pursuing holiness, but God provides money for us to send to others in need. Win/Win!
Seems kind of silly and I'm sure I got a few eye rolls with that example, but I'm being challenged that God desires this same kind of thought process in ALL areas of my life.
2. Disciple-Making . . . This is what it is all about. Again, I've been told this, I've been taught this, I know it is right, but now God Himself is teaching me and I'm owning it like never before. I hear stories of crazy things happening in churches . . . blatant sin not getting confronted, statistics of people within the church looking almost no different that people outside of the church, followers of Christ not at all reflecting Him accurately . . . and I wonder how this is the reality of the American church. I think the answer is that our churches are full of people who have never been discipled. They don't have a strong foundation built upon God's Word to base their entire lives upon. Just like the rest of the world, they end up making decisions based upon what sounds or feels good.
I'm discipling a sweet sweet lady that is completely unchurched. We spent an hour last night just talking and studying about the glory of God . . . that He is the Center of the Universe so then by necessity all things revolve around Him and were created for His glory. This is huge. How do you more forward in understanding the Gospel if you don't grasp this? You don't!
Afterward, I was filled with excitement at the hope of the foundation that will be laid in her life through this discipleship process. But at the same time, I was struck by the vast number of people "we" have just shared the Gospel with and invited to church and then we leave it at that. The preaching of God's Word in a corporate worship service is an incredible blessing and God definitely challenges and grows us through it, but I can't imagine how the same foundation could be built by listening to sermons as the foundation that is built through personal discipleship. The sermons proclaim these essential truths, but it would be so hard for an unchurched person or new believer to themselves sort out the truths taught to form a firm foundation for their faith.
I pray that I and we would have a renewed passion for making disciples of all nations. It is hard. It takes time. It takes personal sacrifice. But making disciples is what this life lived for Christ is all about.
3. Spiritual Leadership . . . Y'all know I love my husband. No secret there. He is amazing and the perfect man for me! But in the past couple of months I have had a renewed love and appreciation for him and for how God designed marriage to be.
The man is the spiritual leader in the home. He can lead well or horribly, but he is still the leader. God's Word says that the wife's role is to submit to her husband. This makes most women shudder and cut it completely out of the vows. But in the past month I have experienced this design and it is so incredibly beautiful!
Chad has led by example in prioritizing spending time with Jesus each day and making disciples of all nations. His example alone is enough to lead me to do the same. But he has taken extra steps to make sure I am able to make these things a reality in my life. Chad has set an example of walking in humility, seeking forgiveness and offering forgiveness. But he has also lovingly prayed and encouraged me to seek God about these areas in my life. I see and experience Chad making decisions rooted in wisdom after seeking the Father. But he also offers wise counsel to me as I work through decisions.
There have been moments when Chad has challenged me or spoken words of wisdom to me out of love. In the past I might have gotten defensive or argued from my point of view. But because of how Chad is living his own life and how he is leading our family spiritually, I have been able to receive his direction and wisdom as intended . . . as from the Lord out of love. I gladly submit to his leadership because of the leader he is and the Leader he follows.
One other side not about spiritual leadership for wives . . . show your appreciation for the way your husband is leading your family. Over the last month, I have intentionally thanked Chad for how he is leading us in wisdom and to pursue holiness. And I have made sure he knows how much I respect and appreciate him. And as a result I have seen him embrace the role and responsibility even more and with a renewed passion. It's like my submission and respect have given him wings to fly (cue "You are the wind beneath my wings")!
Lots of random thoughts that are somehow all intertwined in my mind and heart. What a blessing to serve a God that is never content to leave us where we are, but always desires to lead us to new places!