Spiritual Warfare in Marriage, Family, and Vocation

It is significant that Paul’s classic exposition of spiritual warfare comes immediately after his instructions about Christians living in marriage, family and the workplace. In all these realms, there is a battle to be fought if we are to be able “to stand” (rather than sink or swim with the tide), and to fulfill our role as messengers of the “gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15, echoing Isa. 52:7).

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you find there is always a battle to be fought in these areas of your life?

Resources

The Mission of God’s People by Christopher Wright

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The Joy of Fervent Prayer

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (Jn 16:24)

The sentence teaches us that the joy and happiness of believers admit of degrees, and may be fuller at one time than at another. It also teaches that the joy of a believer depends much on his fervency and earnestness in prayer. He that prays little and coldly must not expect to know much of ‘joy and peace in believing.’

Question for Reflection

  1. Does your prayer life lead to joy?

Resources

J.C. Ryle, John Vol. 3, 118.

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Men, Don’t Make Your Wife Lead Your Family!

Unfortunately, many women become the leaders of their families by default because their husbands have either deserted the home or abdicated their God-given responsibility to lead. This is another side of the impact of the fall.

C.S. Lewis observes that most women instinctively understand that there is something wrong when they must be in charge.

“There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule.”

When those who are called to be in leadership vacate the role, they leave a vacuum that must be filled by another. Why is this the case? Leadership is difficult. Leadership is a responsibility, and sinful selfishness resists responsibility or accountability. “Paradoxically,” says Ash,

“it may not be the challenges of secular feminisim that pose the greatest threat to God’s order of marriage, but the pathetic abdications of sinful males who will not take upon ourselves our God-given reponsbility to exercise headship in our marriages and in our home.”

The way to relieve our wives of the temptation to take over is to recognize that leadership is our responsibility and to step up in obedience to be the loving, sacrificial leaders he has called us to be.

Question for Reflection

  1. Men, are you leading your family to know God, accomplish His purposes, and glorify Him?

Resources

The Shepherd Leader at Home, Timothy Witmer, 85

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Discipleship Over Numbers

In the drive to build a large church, elders can lose sight of what is most important – congregational discipleship. A large congregation might be spiritually mature, but it could also be that the tares outnumber the wheat in a given locale. The same dynamics are true of smaller churches as well. Let us encourage our pastors and elders to do the work of discipleship, and may we seek to be involved as well, according to our circumstances and abilities.

Question for Reflection

  1. What is most important growth in numbers or growth in spiritual maturity?

Resources

Table Talk MagazineTares Among the Wheat, February 11, 2016

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What Does Biblical Faith Involve?

Christian faith is more than just belief that God exists. It does not take any special gift of faith to believe in the existence of the Creator, for many people have lived and died believing that God exists even though they never became Christians.

Biblical faith involves believing also the specific promises of God. We must believe God, not simply believe in God.

As the Lord this day to strengthen your faith in His promises so that you will continue to trust in Him alone.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you believe in a God, or do you believe God?
  2. Are you ready and willing to depend on God alone for salvation?

Resources

TableTalk Magazine  January 25, 2016

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Sanctification Kills Our Desire For Sin

Indeed the more sanctified the person is, the more conformed he is to the image of his Savior, the more he must recoil against every lack of conformity to the holiness of God. The deeper his apprehension of the majesty of God, the greater the intensity of his love to God, the more persistent his yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the more conscious will he be of the gravity of the sin that remains and the more poignant will be his detestation of it…Was this not the effect in all the people of God as they came into closer proximity to the revelation of God’s holiness?

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you recognize your sin to a greater extent as you have grown to be more life Christ?

Resources

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 753 quoting John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 145

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