I’m often found peddling the 3-column bible study method, or at least extolling its virtues — I suppose I’ve never taken money for my counsel. I am indeed quite the advocate, but I realize I don’t often share with you guys what I myself am studying and how I’m being obedient to those texts. [I don't intend to post an actual 3-column study here today -- though if you want to know more, please read this post on how to do a 3-column study and this post of an actual 3-column study. If you do, and you put it into practice, I believe you will be blessed.]
But I figure what better news for a Christian to share on his blog than how his life is being changed by God through Bible study? Setting my words to publish can be quite the accountability partner as well. Plus, it certainly doesn’t hurt to occasionally provide a testimony of God’s faithfulness as we read his word.
Two weeks ago I began reading from Deuteronomy 6. It is an incredible chapter. I won’t use this post to go into detail today about all it contains (but I will use this one), but instead will let it suffice that I believe Deuteronomy 6 to be an abundantly practical instruction booklet on how to raise a Godly family.
As I reflected on the passage written in my own words, I began to realize I was not doing a very good job of leading my family spiritually. My wife and I pray together every night before bed, occasionally discuss what we’re reading in the Bible, and sometimes sing praise songs with Baylor — but only the evening prayer has been done with any real intentionality. While I believe it is indeed my responsibility to be the spiritual leader in my family, it was not this issue of obligation or duty that struck me so clearly as I read the text. Rather, it was a question of opportunity.
Was I letting slip through my hands my chance to help my wife be all that God intends? Was I missing the occasion to teach my daughter how much God loves her? Was I, by not leading my family well, choosing for us to live uninspired lives, full of mediocrity instead of peace and joy? How many blessings of God might I cost my wife and daughter by not taking advantage of my role in our family? How many blessings might my grandchildren and their families fail to receive because of my inaction?
And so I came to my “I will” statements. In the beginning I committed to pray about my role in our family and that God would show me how to lead better. And I committed at that time to do whatever it was he would show me.
A few days later Christie and I spent an evening at the home of Sam and Nancy Shewmaker, missionaries in Rwanda. At the breakfast table in the morning, as we ate our meal of pancakes and fresh fruit, Sam read aloud from the Bible. It wasn’t a difficult thing to do, nor was it new or fresh or exciting. But he read the Word of God as we ate together.
Every morning, now, I make it a point to be at the breakfast table when Christie and Baylor sit down to eat. [That's new for me.] I read a section of scripture (we began in Matthew) and then, based on our reading for the morning, I pray for our family. It’s not a difficult thing to do. Nor is it always new or fresh or exciting. But I am being obedient to God, and I believe my family is being blessed as a result.
This is how God changes lives. One obedient step after another.
Let me share with you with a few words from John King, one of the shepherds at our sending church:
Discipleship is a series of changes. It is a process of hearing from God in this one thing and being obedient. As that process of obedience picks up steam over time, we realize we’ve undergone significant transformation and even that realization motivates us to hearing more, obeying more and being more amazed at what the Holy Spirit is accomplishing.
I pray that you are being amazed at what the Holy Spirit is accomplishing in your life. And if you’re not, I pray you will commit to working with him to bring that transformation. May your life be changed, and may our God be glorified.