Mrs. Lubbers is a wife and mother in the Protestant Reformed Church of South Holland, Illinois.
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way….
R—to read the Scriptures faithfully each day, for in them is found eternal life. The Bible is water to my parched soul and food for my hungry heart. The truly hungry man does not pick at his meal, but attacks it ravenously. So will I devour the Word of God. “Take up and read,” said Augustine. Come apart from the storms and stresses of life and rest a while. Read this inspired, most elegant Book. Believe all that is written on its pages.
E—to edify others with words of encouragement and comfort, building up the languishing or distressed saint. By my words of kindness and charity, may others be strengthened in their commitment to the Reformed faith. By my rebukes, may the wise take heed to his ways. To admonish, or to be admonished, is painful. Its cost may be friendships and social standing. “… teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs….” (Col. 3).
S—to seek the Kingdom and its righteousness first—that is, to seek it exclusively. To seek the Kingdom by my godly walk and words, promoting the advantage of my neighbor. For everything else in this world, all that appeals to my whims and desires, all .that I lust after and covet that is not of God will soon and surely pass away. Seeking the kingdom of heaven has always been an either/or choice: “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
O—to obey all of God’s commandments. It is not for me to pick and choose: I will keep my hands from thievery, but flaying my neighbor with my tongue just happens to be a pet vice of mine. Obey is a frowned-upon four-letter word today. Wives are co-partners with husbands. Even in the marriage form, to obey is frequently left out altogether or compromised. And children certainly cannot be expected to obey. They have fragile egos and should be reasoned with and coaxed to compliance. Nevertheless, “To obey is better than sacrifice . . . .”
L—to love God and my neighbor more and more purely. This will take great effort. Loving God is difficult enough. Loving my neighbor is an impossibility. When he is next door, I move him far away; it is easier to love .a remote man. When I do try to love him, he is either disagreeable or unworthy of it. “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people,” writes G.K. Chesterton.
V—to be vigilant. To be watchful that the wick in my candle is not extinguished. For he shall come like a thief. “You will not, I most solemnly assure you, see Him approaching, If the householder had known at which time the burglar would arrive, he would have been ready for him. If the servant had known when his absent employer would come home, he would not have been found drunk in the kitchen. But they did not. Nor will you. Therefore, you must be ready at all times” (The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis). Ordinarily, a sentry keeps his eyes open all the time. Paradoxically, this kind of vigilance requires us to have our eyes closed—to be constant in prayer. We are living in the last frame in God’s camera. Pray without ceasing.
E—to exercise myself unto godliness. In our society, there is an excessive amount of attention paid to bodily fitness. The body must be lean, strong, well-toned, and tanned. The health club has become the modem- day Fountain of Youth. Earlier and ever more early children are enrolled in sports programs and gymnastic classes. “Bodily exercise profiteth little,” says the apostle to Timothy. Would that we put our intellect, energy, and enthusiasm into spiritual gymnastics. For whenever the apostle Paul urges us to run, to spar; or to wrestle it is always for a spiritual race, a spiritual boxing match, or a spiritual wrestling tournament towards a heavenly goal to receive a laurel of righteousness. We must work out—it is true—our salvation with fear and trembling.
D—to do His will, not theorize or talk about it. My life must be the Ten Commandments written in large, bold letters. I must feed the hungry, house the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick, encourage the prisoner. It is in offering a cup of cold water, in the Name of Christ, that I myself drink deeply of the Water of Life. “In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25). C.H. Spurgeon writes in Barbed Arrows: “A bushelful of resolutions is of small value; a single grain of practice is worth the whole.”