Thursday, August 18, 2011

Family Driven Faith-Chapter 2

And God spoke all these words, saying, 
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you 
out of the land of Egypt, out of the house 
of slavery.  You shall have no other gods 
before me." Exodus 20:1-3.  

A God With No Rivals: An Affair of the Soul

This week, when I was re-reading chapter 2, I was taken back by just how jealous God must feel when we aren't giving Him the time and attention He deserves.  I thought about the things I often place before God in my life...and found myself asking for forgiveness.  I thought about how horrified I would be if I were Him...and how thankful I am that he forgives. 

The first commandment:  You shall have no other gods before me.
(a couple of questions from the study guide)
1.  Do you believe the First Commandment applies to the way we live life in the context of our families? Why or Why not?
2.  What are some ways you  honor the First Commandment in your home?  and dishonor the First Commandment in your home?

Thomas' Story
I think too often in our American homes we dishonor God by placing our measure of success on how much money we make, if our child is good at sports, is an all American Academic, etc.  We slowly allow things to be ok this once..and then all of a sudden wonder why our children, when left to choose aren't honoring God either.  We allow time for worship when other things just happen to not be going on, or when it is convenient for us.  After all, we are a country of conveniences.   In the book, the idol in Thomas' life had become success in his sport...he had learned from example...his parents had put his sport above all--for him, for his sake.  Which happens a ton...and unless you really think about it--I mean, most people would think that little league practice on a Sunday is harmless, that is--until you think of it as becoming an idol.  Merriam-Webster defines an Idol as:

Definition of IDOL

1: a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly : a false god
2a : a likeness of something b obsolete : pretender, impostor
3: a form or appearance visible but without substance idol — P. B. Shelley>
4: an object of extreme devotion idol>; also : ideal 2

So no wonder we would not see these types of things as setting ourselves and our children up for failure.  Things like little league and cheer leading and football practice often become an object of extreme devotion that is without substance and, in the spiritual lives of our children they become false gods....exactly what God doesn't want for us.  Does that mean our kiddos can't participate in sports? just is a call for us as parents to be the defenders of their hearts, and minds.  To help them keep everything in proper perspective. 
In the study guide Mr. Baucham asks a couple of questions that are good to think about.

1.  Why does the story of Thomas hit so close to home for so many Christian Familes?
2.  Why would most families fail to see what Thomas was doing as any kind of spiritual problem?

Crushing Idols:
I related to this part a lot....I need to work to keep a proper perspective in regards to the education of my children.  I need to remember the difference between "appropriate pursuits and passions and crossing the line into possible idolatry".  I know that there is really nothing inherently wrong with sports and academics...balance and proper perspectives is key.  I will have to continually work on this one...

Watch your Walk:
No matter what--we lead our children by example, period.  They watch us constantly--they see our level of devotion, our personal walk with God. It is so true that more is "caught than taught".  We have to understand the awesome responsibility it is to be a parent...and we are 24 hour 7 days a week teachers, sometimes this is easy, but most of the time I need reminded of this many times a day.  Be good stewards of our time: Our time is precious--Be a good steward of your time. And no...this doesn't mean do more, go more, accomplish more.  Make choices about your time based on your family, and what they need from you.  Your time with them is precious, no amount of money or personal enjoyment is better for your family than you are!  Be there, spend the time!  As I moved on to the section titled Understand God's Will, Mr. Baucham brings up a VERY good point here. We do serve a soverign God...and often the way we live does not reflect this belief.  In the end this is true (and good to be reminded of daily):
          "Our children don't belong to us--they belong to God.  Our goal as parents must not limited by our
          own vision.  I am a finite, sinful, selfish [person].  Why would I want to plan out my children's future
          when I can entrust them to the infinite, omnipotent, immutable, sovereign Lord of the universe? I don't
          want to tell God what to do with my children--I want Him to tell me! When I allow my will to take
          precedence over God's will, I have not only given way to a rival--I have become one. "  WOW!

Ordering Relationships By the Book:
Ouch...this portion so much goes against the child first, marriage second philosophy of our world.  Aaron and I talked about this one a lot.  Living this out teaches our children that they aren't the center of the world.  And ultimately teaches them that we are a united front, that our relationship with each other matters, that relationships take work and time, etc.... This is so important on so many levels.  I think it is easy to grab a hold of the "kids come first" mentality, especially when those around us are there.  Who does prioritizing the mother/father relationship benefit children in the long run?  What are some dangers of the "kids come first" mentality?

Take action list at the end of this week's chapter:
1.  "Make a list of potential idols in your life.  Are there things in your life that require of you things that are only due to our God? If so, identify them.  Ask your children to participate in the process.
2.  Get your family together, and decide how you are going to crush the idols in your life.  There may be many things you need to get out of your house.  More than likely, there are also things you need to get off your schedule.
3.  Have a special time of family prayer and repentance.  Confess the sin of idolatry before God, receive His forgiveness, and celebrate the renewed freedom you now enjoy."

If you have a blog and are posting your comments on your blog, I have added a link up to the discussion, otherwise, the comment section is fine for those of you don't.  You may answer some of the questions in the study guide or none, tell what you agreed/disagreed with, or how you were challenged, etc.  You can talk about one part of the chapter or the chapter as a whole.  I am looking forward to fellowshipping with you!
ALSO: Check out my Caramel Popcorn Post for my first give away!

Blessings to you,
Other Posts in this series:
The Invitation
Chapter 1

Linking up today at:
Raising Homemakers
Women Living Well
Raising Mighty Arrows
Titus 2sDays 
The Imperfect Housewife 
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home


Ann said...

Hi Amanda! Boy was I challenged this week to take a second look at commitments we had made last yr when I read this book and talked about it with my family! It is so easy to get waylaid...

Amanda said...

It is...I'm thinking of making a reminder card for the mirror in my bathroom, just to help me stay focused....but it is a continual commitment, not just a one time thing. Blessings to you!

Kristin said...

I'm curious what you think of the "kids come first" situation when the kids are babies. Dan and I were discussing this the other night and it's really hard right now to put our relationship first when we have 2 babies that are needing our attention. Lucy's just now at the age where we can explain to her that mommy and daddy need some time etc...but I just don't know how to do it with the babies. And finding someone who's comfortable to come over and care for twins and a 3 year old is not maybe it's easier to do when the kids get older. I'm just curious what others do cause I completely agree that the parents relationship should come first, just not sure how to make that happen in this stage of life.

Amanda said...

Kristin, we have always made our time together a major priority...even when our life was crazy with surgeries and little babies. We just had to be more creative about it. Like lunches instead of dinners. I am in an older stage than you with my twins and I don't think it gets any easier, the baby days were the easiest yet. Aaron often arranged the childcare with one of our parents and "made" me go. And I am thankful he did. If you don't make it a priority now, it is probably just as hard later.

Pamela said...

A challenging post, Kristin. I need to purchase this book -- even though our family is back to two!