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“Have you ever noticed how ‘Bible women’ become more demanding and difficult as they age?”

 

My friend’s off-the-cuff question lingered with me for days. Although I’d never thought about it, I unfortunately knew plenty of instances in which this was true. My memories were filled with elderly Christian women who were never pleased. How could I assure that my own pathway led to grace, rather than grumbling? How could I hold onto the exact truth of His Word without becoming exacting toward my own way?

 

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day spent much time scrutinizing the Torah. With careful precision, they investigated each regulation given by Moses so that every action could be delineated as either black or white. They seated themselves “in the chair of Moses,” deciding much but obeying little (Matthew 23:2-3). How often do we “Bible women” of today pore over the Scriptures like the Pharisee’s, but remain unwilling to meet with Him face to face as our very Life (John 5:40; Colossians 3:4)? Indeed, the law was handed down on stone through Moses; but graciousness and truth generate into reality only through a Person (John 1:17). Becoming approachable and ageless unfolds as we daily approach the Ancient of Days.

 

In order to mature gracefully, we must regard His Word as the life where we rest, not just a book that we  study. His Word is not merely a library of books to change your ideas, but a living force effecting change of your personality. These Scriptures we hold in our hands are not meant for mere knowledge. They bear witness of a Person — the very reality of Jesus Himself (John 5:39). In fact, Christ’s very Name is called the Word of God (Revelation 13:19)!

 

Nineteenth-century missionary Andrew Murray says, ”The whole… blessedness of waiting on God… is that we cannot for any time come into contact with Him without that life and power secretly, silently beginning to enter into us and bless us.” Oh, precious child of God — come daily before His Word as your very source of contact to the Living Person of your Lord. Pore over the Scriptures only in this way: allowing Him to secretly, silently pour Himself into your innermost being.

 

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We are our child’s first and most influential teacher. 

 

But the kind of teacher we are depends on the kind of heart we have because whatever is on our heart will spill out of our mouths (Matthew 12:34).

 

We do well then to diligently listen to Moses:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…and you shall teach (these words) diligently to your sons” (Deuteronomy 6:5,7).

 

The Chaldean word for “teaching diligently” offers great insight. It’s just one word: “shanan” meaning to sharpen”. Regularly referring to weapons, it depicts the action of whetting and filing a weapon so that it can penetrate quickly and deeply.

 

In ancient warfare, there were two types of swords: a longer one used by the Celts and a shorter one used by the Romans.

 

The Celt’s sword looked terrifying.  They yelled and swirled it around in the air before chopping downward with it. With brute force, they hacked away at their opponents blow by blow. Because the enemy’s vital parts were protected by equipment and bone, this sword often mamed, but rarely penetrated. The effects were slow and painful.

 

On the other hand, the Roman legionnaires carried a small, razor-sharp sword called a gladius. Daily, they practiced thrusting these daggers in a very rapid back and forth motion. 

 

In combat, the Romans learned to move in close – in fact, too close for effective use of the longer sword. The gladius not only caught its opponent off-guard by its proximity, it could also make four stabs to every one swiping hack made by the longer sword.

 

Our tongue is the sword of our homes. With it, we can quickly penetrate to the heart of a problem or hack away on it for days without ever finding the root. It can be a close, quiet maneuver or a loud, disruptive one.

 

When we allow God’s Spirit to sharpen us, our teaching will be disciplined in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Our goal will be loving words matched by loving deeds. 

 

As we practice handling His Word accurately, family confrontations will be more akin to a surgeon’s scalpel than a dull sword. Conflict will result in healing, not bludgeoning. 

 

Yes, we are to discipline our children just as the Father disciplines us. Disciple trains them in endurance and the “peaceful fruit of righteousness”. Yet, our final purpose must be for building up, rather than tearing down .

 

During His final hours, Jesus spoke of having a sword ready. “Let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one,” He instructed (Luke 22:36). Yet, it was the sword of the Spirit that proved powerful during His arrest, not Peter’s sword. “When therefore He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground….Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave; and cut off his right ear….Jesus therefore said to Peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?'” (John 18:6,10-11).

 

So, tell me – does your home training program look more like the Celts or the Romans? Is your sword filled with the Word of Christ or of the violence of the tongue?

 

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