Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants the prophets.
In my previous post on this topic, I suggested that you may be thinking (consciously or unconsciously) “If this is true, if the Bible is true, then what are the implications for me?, what claim does God have over my life?”
This can be a scary thought; one that may lead you to “get religion” or “get saved” or to “find Jesus.” But let me share with you some very practical and real ways in which my pursuit of this question changed my life for the better. You see until I had really pursued this question, I was the worlds greatest expert on a book I had never even opened, let alone read. So let me share some of that book, and see if it resonates somehow in your own personal life.
Instructions for Households — Ephesians 5
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Instructions for Relationships — Ephesians 6
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]
4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Note: No, this is not an endorsement of slavery, but rather an acknowledgement that it exists. You can rightfully substitute the words employers and employees and it will likely fit your own situation.
Practice Humility — Philippians 2
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
Again … Instructions for Households — Colossians 3 & 4
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers,[c] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.
4 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair
You may not be in the same place I was when I first read these words, and good on you if you are not. and I hope you never will be. But when I first read these words, it was as if one of those carnival mirrors was put in front of my face and I saw who I really was … and it was not flattering to say the least. I was not a good husband, was not a good father, was muddling along at work, not really a bad boss of worker, but just getting by day by day.
But the ironic beauty of that carnival mirror was that it not only showed the warped and incomplete person I was, but it showed me the proper way to bring that image into focus. I took the words to heart, acknowledged who I was at that point in time, and asked the Lord to help me in bringing that image into focus. He was faithful, and I can look back over those many years and know that my life, and the lives of those around me, was fundamentally transformed. … The divorced drunk I was becoming never came into being and no one, myself included, had to suffer the consequences.
So that’s my story and how I handled the question. He did reveal His plan to me, at least the part that was personal to me.
In my next essay on this thread I would like to explore the question “But what of all the death and suffering caused by religion?”
Don Johnson – May 2013