We have been investigating what the Bible means by “walking by faith” as a necessity for our task of “ruling over the earth.” In this posting, I want to apply this truth to the practical situation of ruling in our families. What does that look like?
In a nutshell, walking by faith in my family begins by walking in the light with family members in everything. Exposing my sin to the glorious, freeing, cleansing light of the grace of God, knowing they are all forgiven and forgotten by Him, causes them all to eventually miraculously disappear and clears the decks for effective family rule.
I know I have related this story before on this blog, but it is so appropriate and universally applicable that I must share it again, so please bear with me. Both of my sons, at different times when each was about 12-13 years old, shared with me how the same neighbor boy had shown them some pornography. They had been stirred and fascinated, but both realized it was not good, so they both came to me for help and direction, about a year or so apart.
Being a “respected leader” in our church at the time, I gave them the prescribed, grave, erudite, finger-wagging answer: “This is a serious sin. You can get addicted, so do your best to run the other way and, at all costs, don’t get involved in pornography” (or words to that effect)!
Funniest thing; I somehow forgot to tell each of them that I had a very similar experience at about the same age. A neighborhood boy had gotten me involved in his attic in pornography, and I had been casually and secretly hooked on it continuously for the 30 years since!
At the time, it had not yet dawned on me what the familiar passage about “walking in the light “ in 1 John 1 really meant. So, I didn’t tell them my story, nor did I tell them that whenever any of us fell into sin or were tempted (including me), we “men” in the family would meet together, confess our stumbles, and pray for one another that we would be healed (James 5:16). I didn’t recognize the tremendous power that the father has in leading his sons by example to being a repentant sinner.
Nor did I realize that at the Fall in the Garden of Eden, I (and all humanity with me) became addicted—to wanting to “be like God, knowing good and evil” for myself (Genesis 3:5). I embarked, in Adam, on a life where the objective is obedience to God’s law, on my own, without God, based on my own evaluation of what’s “good!” You can imagine how that evaluation will be adjudicated in my own mind: “Glory to Robert, glory to Robert!”
Romans 3:9-18 is testament to the failure of this “obedience to God’s law” approach to Christian living, with the 1 John 1:5-10 approach of “walking in the light” as the biblical solution!
Why is leading with this concept of acknowledging and embracing my sinfulness as an indication of walking by faith a surprise, considering God’s backward, upside-down, inside-out way of doing things? Last is first, serving is leading, and living is dying in God’s life of faith. (John 12:24).
Yes, obedience to the law of God WILL happen, in spades, but always, only, as a result, and never a means. I never “set out” to be “good” and “keep the law,” but, miracle of miracles, as I face my sin and rejoice in the total forgiveness of every last one of them at the cross, lo and behold, righteousness begins to unconsciously appear in my life! “Who, me?”!
With this modus operandi as a basis of operation, we fathers are READY to rule in our families so, so successfully! Everything else will fall into place. Next week we will take a look at what those everything “elses” are.