Mrs. Meyer is a wife and mother in the Hope Protestant Reformed Church of Walker, Michigan
In previous articles we have attempted to scratch the surface of what it means to live in Christ, including what the implications of this are for us as we live in our homes. For we must live in our families and homes as we indeed are in Christ. This must be evident in our lives, even as a ray of light is evident to our eyes as it reflects off a facet of a gem. And Christ’s work is as a gem!
The problem is that we by nature do not reflect His work very well. Especially as parents we can easily become discouraged in the high and all-encompassing calling of instructing our children in the words of our Lord. Sometimes it seems as though God must work in spite of us rather than through us! Teaching our children as we ought is an extremely demanding business.
But there is hope. For we are in Christ! And He in us! We and our children have been baptized into His perfect, holy life and light. He works that holy life in us, so that we are truly in Him. And if we are in Him, we are out of the bonds of Satan and the world.
We must live as such. We will live as such. Because He has very really put us in Him and He in us. The following stories are true. They have been gleaned from a variety of covenant families. And they reflect those rays that emanate from Him who causes the beginning of that holy life within us. Our sin gets in the way. Our natures get in the way. But His beginning work is there, nonetheless.
May we be encouraged in the battle.
A candle burned in the centerpiece of the table, and a little boy stood nearby to watch the flame with fascination. He saw how the fire illumined the dimly lit room, and he saw how the wax began to melt and drip down the side of the candle.
“Dad, what makes the wax melt?” he asked.
“The heat of the flame makes it melt,” answered his father. “It shows us how Jesus’ heart melted like wax. Fire is a picture of God’s wrath, and when His wrath comes down on the heart, it makes the heart melt.” He reached for his Bible to show his son. “Here it is in Psalm 22. ‘My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.’ Jesus’ heart had to melt for us, for you and for me.”
The little boy studied the candle with renewed interest.
She had been sick all day. Having the flu was not fun! And she had plenty of time to think. “You know what?” she finally said, “I haven’t fought with my sister all day.”
Mother and Father smiled. “Usually we can’t see how our affliction can be good for us until it’s all over,” said Father.
“But you can see it even now while you’re sick! That’s very good,” Mother added. “God makes it so that our afflictions are good for us.” She softly sang, “Affliction has been for my profit, that I to Thy statutes might hold….”
It really was for her profit! But still, being sick took much patience. The little girl leaned back upon her pillow and sighed.
“Grandma, could you help me with something?” asked a young boy.
“Sure, come here. What is it you need?” she offered.
“I can’t figure out this question for Sunday School. Can you tell me how the world is a scaffolding for God’s children?”
“Do you know what scaffolding is? That it’s often used in construction?”
“Well, let’s see,” she thought a moment, “maybe this example will help. The Romans were in power at the time of Jesus, and it was the Romans who built many roads, connecting many different countries. God used those roads for the church and the apostles to be able to spread the gospel.”
He thought about her explanation a few moments. “Yes,” he finally nodded, “I think I understand now. Thank you, Grandma!”
Father opened the Bible and began to read from Mark 11:
And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
He stopped reading and looked up. “Colt? What did Jesus want with a colt?” he asked.
“Er, um … to ride on it through the city,” said one small voice.
“But the people wanted Jesus to be their king. Do kings usually ride on donkeys?” asked Father.”No, they ride on beautiful horses,” said another child.
“But then why didn’t Jesus ride on a beautiful horse?”
“Oh, I know!” said another child. “To show that He was lowly.”
“Yes,” nodded Father. “He wasn’t a king like other kings, was He? He rules the whole world, but not like other kings. Other kings can’t rule hearts. Jesus reigns in our hearts by grace.”
Father’s eyes returned to the Scriptures and he continued reading where he had left off.
“Put that down!” scolded Mother. “I told you not to touch that.” She firmly took her daughter by the hand and led her away from the source of the temptation.
“I’m sorry, Mommy,” said the little girl. Tears began to form and well up in her eyes. “Really I am,” she sniffed. She knew her mother was displeased, and she hated to displease her mother.
“Are you really sorry? Not only because you disobeyed me, but also because God is not happy with us when we sin?”
The little girl nodded. She wiped away another tear.
Mother gathered her young daughter into her arms. “Only God’s people are sorry for their sins. Did you know that? That’s because He puts His Spirit in their hearts.”
The little girl rested her head on her mother’s shoulder and was comforted.
“Yuck! Do I have to eat it?” whined a little girl.
“Yeah,” added her brother with a grimace, “I don’t like it.”
Father frowned. “Yes, you have to eat it. It’s good for you. Your mother worked hard to prepare it especially for you. And we must be thankful to God for the food He gives us. He feeds the sparrows, and how much more He feeds us!”
The children sighed and attempted another bite.
Then the youngest of the group piped up in her small, little voice, “Mm, it’s good, Mom. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” said Mother.
After the meal was complete and the plates were empty, Father said, with meaning, “Let us thank God for the food He has given us tonight….”
“I love the snow. It’s so pretty!” sighed a little girl as she looked out the window one cold and snowy afternoon.
“It is pretty, isn’t it?” said her mother. “God made it for a picture. Jesus’ blood covers our sins and makes us white as snow. Pure and clean.”
“I had it, it’s mine!”
“No, it’s not, it’s mine!”
“Give it back or….”
“What’s going on here?” broke in Mother. She didn’t have time to wade through the excuses and explanations. “You sit here, and you sit there, and I’m going to give you both a Bible. Now, both of you search and find a verse that talks about how we shouldn’t fight. When you each find one, I want you to read it to me.”
Though somewhat slow to begin, the children paged through their Bibles to find a verse.
“Do you know exactly what this girl believes?” a mother asked her teenage son.
“If you’re going to be friends with her, you can’t wait to find out. You may not wait until it would be painful to break up. You have to be resolved—and strong. You have to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of Christ. ‘He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.’ You know you can’t marry or date someone who doesn’t believe the same things that you do.” She paused. “We tell you these things because we love you.”
He nodded. He had some things to think about.
The children filed into the family van, still exuberant from the effort required of them to sing the songs they had practiced for so long, but this time to sing them before an audience.
“That was a wonderful program,” said Mother. “What a joy to hear you children sing God’s praises!”
“It certainly was,” added Father. “In fact, it’s amazing that you can do that. Only God’s people can sing like that. It’s a privilege for us to be able to praise God with our voices in song. And God hears those praises, too.”
The children beamed and laughed and talked as they drove back home. It had been a joy for them as well.
How do we live in our homes? And for that matter, how do we live at all? The Spirit, through the apostle Paul, sums up the answer in Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
May we so live in Christ, who is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, who is the author and finisher of our faith—who lives in us.