Sunday, July 04, 2010

Day Three Saturday July 3rd, 2010

Day Three
Saturday July 3rd, 2010

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
-Galatians 6:9

There are times when we labor and if feels like we’ve been working forever. It doesn’t seem like anything is going to be finished, and nothing is even improving. Sometimes I feel like Friday nights are like that. I love teaching the High Schoolers on Friday nights, but I’m not sure anything is getting through to them. I get phone calls last minute asking for rides to the Bible Study and every week, I have to say no to someone because my car is full. Uncomfortably full. And when we arrive, the high schoolers all go talk to their friends and I sometimes feel like they listen to me teach as a kind of payment to us leaders for putting the hang out time together. It may not be this way, and I do hear occasional feedback on whether or not they were listening or getting anything from it, but it’s easy to feel used, then neglected. Friends are so important to high schoolers that if you don’t fall into that category… maybe they can’t see you. But this verse was given to me as an encouragement not for high schoolers, but for elementary. VBS starts on Monday and that adds 25 extra teachings to my week. I’m not complaining. I love them, but they wipe me out. Teaching is emotionally draining. I would equate a twenty minute teaching time trying to convince people to follow Christ is as draining to me as a Pride and Prejudice marathon would be to the average woman. (Notice how I didn’t compare it to birth. That’s proof that I am learning how to avoid some troubles.)
The truth is that it isn’t always the easiest thing to do… following Christ. It’s much easier in the short run to focus on our own emotions and desires and pleasures. But we know that in the end, we will be happier for following Jesus. When I was a younger Christian, I would tell people that I would be happier not being a Christian. My Bible Study leaders showed some concern. I wasn’t saying that it wasn’t worth it, but it was hard to not do the things I wanted to do or even dwell on the thoughts that I shouldn’t. Jesus says it best when He tells Saul, “It is hard to kick against the goads.” If I wasn’t convicted of my sin, I wouldn’t have a hard time keeping from it. It was much easier to surrender to sin to oppose it. In fact, it’s much easier to surrender to anything than to oppose. Consider a marriage. In Genesis 3, when God kicks Adam and Eve out of the garden, He tells man that he must now work the ground and the ground will produce thorns. Basically, God is revealing that man is inherently lazy. I don’t know about you, Wanda, but I admit this is true. My natural inclination is to do nothing. I would rather sleep and eat all day long and not work if I could get away with it. If I get bored, there are many things to amuse me. Movies, books, video games, etc. Women, on the other hand, have a desire to control. God told Eve that her desire will be for her husband, but he will be over her. God meant that Eve’s desire will be to rule over or be in charge of her husband. (If you don’t believe me, do a Word study of that passage in Hebrew.) Women don’t want to trust men to be in charge, but want to be in charge themselves. This, of course, is the natural inclination. A Godly woman who submits herself to God is a new creation. So women want to be in charge and men want to be lazy. Some marriages work because the guy lets her be in charge as long as she doesn’t make him do anything, but that’s not the way God set it up. God wants the husband to be the head of the household and to love his wife as God loves the church and for women to submit to their husbands. (I know this is a hard teaching, but you’ll have to talk to God about it. Check out 1 Corinthians 11, Ephesians 5, Genesis 2-3, 1 Timothy 2, Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3 for starters.) Wouldn’t things be easier the other way around? They would be, but they wouldn’t be better. If a woman is allowed to be in charge in a marriage and a man is allowed to be lazy, the wife will grow contempt for her husband. She will complain, at least to herself if no one else, that her husband doesn’t do anything and it’s all up to her and that bitterness in her heart toward her husband is poison to her heart and Jesus calls it Murder in Matthew 5. The man, on the other hand, grows fat and lazy. He only cares about feeling comfortable and loses the ability to care for his wife. After a while, the things which he pleasured himself with no longer bring the same amount of pleasure and he has to search other places for it. I’ve seen this happen in more than one marriage.
God knows what He’s doing when He says that the husband should be in charge. He is not a sexist. He just knows best because He created us. A woman is not the same as a man. This has nothing to do with ability, but submission. If a woman will submit to God, she will read this in His Word, ask God herself if it is true. He will tell her it is, and she would submit to Him and submit to her husband. It is the role that God gave to the wife. Even if she can do it better, she is to submit to the husbands God-given authority. (And you ladies can praise the Lord that in this culture (if you’re living in the same culture I live in) you can choose your husband. Choose wisely, because when you marry him, you are telling God that you will submit to his authority.) Personally, and you can disagree with me on this point, I think God set it up this way not to subjugate woman, but to give the man an example of what it looks like to submit. I think we need that visual so we can, in turn, submit ourselves to Christ. But that’s my personal opinion.
I think marriage is wonderful, and although I am not yet married, I cheer it on from where I am. If I may encourage you wives, do not grow weary while doing good. If you keep at it, it will be time to receive the rewards of your labor soon enough. In the same way, as I approach this VBS, I must keep in mind that even though I may not see the change in the hearts of the kids and although I may not think that they are listening, but waiting for the game room, I must remember that I’m planting seeds. The words of Jesus and the Word of God is leaving my mouth, going in their little ears, and resting on their big hearts. And as a farmer can plant and water, it is God that makes it grow. I must trust in Him and be patient. The same goes for my High Schoolers. I am still teaching the Word of God. It is still going in their larger ears and landing on their hearts. God says that as water goes forth and does not return without watering the Earth, His Word does not return empty. I can’t see the hearts. God can. He tells me what to do. I’ll just have to trust Him and obey.

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