I am currently taking a class on family discipleship toward my divinity degree. This class is challenging everything I have believed about the structure of the family and its role within the church. I feel like Josiah after finding and hearing the Book of the Law:
Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.’ He gave it to Shaphan … Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.’ And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king. When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes.” ~ 2 Chron. 34:15, 18-19
Josiah tore his robes because he realized how far off course his kingdom was, and that is my reaction to what I am learning in this class about family discipleship, all of which is soundly biblically-based. As Josiah might have asked, I wonder how I could have been so blind when God’s ways are quite clear.
I need to ponder and pray over the specifics of my challenges before blogging about them, but I wanted to write about the dynamic of learning through God’s Word that you have been living in unholiness while serving a holy God. I have been through this process several times, and it doesn’t get any easier. However, because I have repented and redirected my life in the past with amazing results, I have the hope that I can change direction in this area of my life as well and experience God’s blessings as a result.
One purpose of the law was to awaken the Israelites to their unholiness. Being awakened to unholiness, as I have been this week, is not a fun process, but it is a necessary part of spiritual growth. I liken this dynamic to being in a room with a dimmer light switch. When I became a Christian, God turned the light on, but it was at the lowest possible dimmer setting. The very dim light illuminated big issues in my life that needed to change. It was overwhelming to see the mess, but God gradually led me through the process, and by the time He was done, my life in the very dim light looked much improved.
Then, God made the light a little brighter. What had looked somewhat tidy in the dimmest light now looked like a great big mess. I felt convicted and wondered how I failed to see this mess before. I worked with God to gradually clean up the mess until it looked good again. And then, God made the light a little brighter, and the process started over again.
This is what spiritual growth looks like. I’m not “backsliding” into my prior messes. Instead, God is inviting me to new levels of holiness.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace with a blanket over her head and shining a flashlight at her face. Courtesy Bitmoji.]