Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read Day 24. I had to remind myself of that this morning, because it’s so easy just to start reading! There were 3 things that struck my heart from Day 24. It probably won’t be a well-connected blog, but I wanted to comment on each.
- Devries begins by stating that ‘the 3rd great need in every home is unity.’ I think the biggest contributor to marriages breaking apart is selfishness. Each person puts their own preferences first and lives for themselves, without regard for their spouse. If we honestly reflect on how our own desires have served us in life we will see a long pathway of pain and mistakes. In coming under the will of our Father, this is the uniting factor in a marriage. In our home, the goal is it not to be Liz or Mike’s will, but God’s will. If we are both seeking Him and His desires, we cannot simultaneously seek our own desires. I know it’s easier said than done, but this is the trajectory we should all strive to be on. Humility is opposed to selfishness, but this is a key to a strong marriage---putting others before you by surrendering to our Father. So we pray for our home and the homes around us and seek to disciple people to seek God’s will, not our own. If you are not married, seeking God’s will, not your own applies in every facet of life---not just marriage! (Insert friend/co-worker/family member where spouse is written.)
I don’t think that God’s will is a rigidly defined plan (there may be specifics though---Jonah, Saul/Paul, etc.), but more of a renewed heart that walks with Him. Galatians 5 talks about the tension between the life guided by the Spirit and the life controlled by the flesh. When we are under His will, we are being lead more and more by His Spirit and less and less by our flesh. It’s not a one-time meeting with God where He downloads His will in manual form, but a continual seeking Him through word, prayer, and community, in which He guides us through decisions, thoughts and actions.
- Devries continues and speaks of us needing to be obedient to the 1st and 2nd Commandments and the pervasive issue of idols in our culture. I heard one speaker say that ‘the human heart is an idol factory!’ An idol is anything that we elevate to a position of importance or authority that only God can fulfill. There is a constant tension between our culture and faith with regard to this and our homes are evidence of that. Our physical home, our possessions, our spouse, our kids, our status, etc. can become idols. The problem is that those things cannot fill the need for intimacy with God, through Christ, so we become frustrated, angry, and then seek something else that offers a glimmer of hope to make us feel better. We must recognize the idols, repent of them, and not allow these to consume our hearts. Additionally, as Devries says, praying against these in our homes, neighborhoods and communities.
- Finally, he says that another form of idolatry is fear---that’s a profound statement! I think we feel entitled to stress out, worry, and be afraid of what’s coming. Some of us actually thrive and feel lost if we don’t have stress/fear driving our days. If we step back though---who is God in a situation of our fear?? We are!! There is no trust in fear, because we fail to see God and His provision and direction in a situation. Philippians 4:6-7 says, ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ Those verses have a command not to be anxious, a step of faith and action of prayer, and a promise of receiving peace. The biggest thing we need to do when we are afraid is move beyond our small, obscured perspective and seek the Creator of the universe. We then act by faith and trust in Him and not our own abilities!
I would love to hear your reaction to the reading and thoughts above. How united is your home? (Be careful---this is a trap to point the ‘wrong’ out in your spouse---we must begin with our self and see if we are being selfish!!) Do you seek God when facing disunity or dig your heels in and fight with your spouse? What idols are in your home? Community? Have you seen fear as an idol and do you thrive on fear/stress? Read through Philippians 4:4-7 to close.