"God’s Word Is Profitable"- Part 1

 2 TIMOTHY 3:16b

While writing the materials for an upcoming Kid’s Krate, Kid Jesus, God drew my attention to an important faith skill that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus all possessed. They each demonstrate the ability to remember the scripture they had been taught while young and were able to bring it to mind when it mattered most.Today we will call this faith skill Navigating the Bible.

Because it is a skill, it takes practice. This skill can begin when children are toddlers and by the time they reach elementary age, they should know how to find God’s truths for their specific questions, they should be comfortable finding the different books in the Bible, and they should be able to personalize God’s word.

As I re-read the few passages we have in the Bible about Jesus as a boy, I thought about what a daunting responsibility it must have been to be his earthly father and mother responsible for his early training in the Word. But God had worked through each of their families to instill a knowledge of the word and personal faith. They were brought up in homes where the Lord was revered. We see from the accounts of Matthew and Luke that they knew how to personalize God’s word.

A Case Study of Mary - When the angel Gabriel was sent by God to tell Mary that she was favored in God’s sight and that the Lord was with her, that He had chosen her among all women to be the mother of His Son, she was scared and had questions but her response was one I believe God wants all of our responses to be to when He shares His purposes for our lives: “I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) Even through her fears we see a confident trust in God.

Consider, too, her immediate visit to cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant. They share their joy of being pregnant, and then Mary begins a song of praise to the Lord. Mary knew the ancient dreams of Israel; she knew what the prophets had said would come true. Almost every word she says is a biblical quotation such as she would have known from childhood. We can tell by Mary’s praise that she had searched the scriptures and immersed herself in the psalms and prophets.

A Case Study of Joseph - In Matthew, chapter 1, we meet a distraught young man, engaged to be married, who is told by his betrothed that she is with child. He knows the child is not his. This news was incomprehensible for Joseph and he must ponder his choice of painful next steps. Have you ever wondered why the angel did not come to Joseph first? This is a test of faith for certain and one where his character is revealed.

He does a beautiful thing. Rather than focusing on how he was wronged and thinking about his devastating loss, he focuses on Mary. He knows what love requires of him so he doesn’t want to disgrace her by exposing her pregnancy. He decides he will divorce her secretly to save her from public shame. But, God intervenes and sends an angel to convince Joseph that Mary was telling the truth.

Throughout the first years of Jesus’ life we see Joseph follow a path of faith which he repeatedly found taking unpredictable detours. On four different occasions we see Joseph receive instructions which no doubt were very different from the life he had planned for his family: A grueling trip during the hardest part of pregnancy for a Roman census, the birth of God’s son in a barn, no steady income, an assassination attempt from the King of the land, two dessert-crossings on foot with an infant, living in, and waiting on God for last-minute guidance and provision. And in each situation the very next line of his story demonstrates his immediate obedience to the word of the Lord. (Matthew 1:24, 2:13-14, 2:19-21)

A Case Study of Jesus -  It is remarkable to see Jesus in the Temple as a young teenager already exhibiting a love and understanding of God’s word, a maturing faith, and his acknowledgement of the most important priority of his life. I will stop right here and save the lessons we can learn from Jesus as he lives to demonstrate the importance of navigating God’s word.  Kid Jesus, the next Kid’s Krate, will launch on February 23, 2021. Order yours today!

You don’t just wake up one day and have a faith like theirs. They were taught to recite scripture morning and evening and they lived out these commands of Moses. “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6:4-9)

This is the BEST method for growing your family’s faith also. Moses makes first things first. He challenges the moms and dads in the crowd to pursue as their primary relationship a love relationship with God. Next Moses told parents, “God’s Word has to be in your heart” before you can expect it to be in your children. When it comes to character and faith, your kids are watching you and you can’t fake loving God and spending time with Him. When it comes to spiritual development, more will be caught than taught.

In this Deuteronomy passage Moses implies that before you can ask who your children are becoming, you must examine who you are becoming. It is not nearly as much “formalized spiritual instruction” as it is integrating your faith in God into each day. This comes more natural when you are in God’s Word and you can share, at their level of understanding, what God is teaching you. If you are struggling or stagnant in your growth, let your kids see it but let them also see you searching for God in prayer, in your Bible, at your church, and not willing to give up until you’re growing again. When you do not live up to the truths you have taught, admit it and show them what being sorry for sin looks like. My daughter is in her mid thirty’s and just last week I had to confess and apologize to her that I had dishonored someone with my words to her and God let me know it. Children young and old need your authenticity and honesty. Most of all, they need to see that your growth spiritually, morally, and relationally are top priorities in your life.

Parents do not have to live their lives as perfect examples, we know we can’t. Moses said that God’s way of life needs to be “upon your hearts.” This speaks to desire and passion. Everything does not have to be right in you or about you before you can be a positive influence in your children’s lives. Be authentic and show them what it looks like to prioritize Jesus by giving Him your heart’s affection and life devotion.

What do you want your children to have in them when the majority of your responsibility for raising them is finished? The good news is that you don’t have to be all of those things right now. Just let them see the difference Jesus is making in you as you are transformed by His word. It will give them hope for what God can do in them as they learn and apply truth from the Bible.

Part two of “God’s Word Is Profitable” will explore some of the many Bibles on the market today and how to choose the best one to buy.

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