(If you'd rather listen to this, the podcast version go here)
In a world that is moving and changing at warp speed, sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up.
How do I navigate something that doesn’t stay the same for what feels like any longer than a nanosecond?
How am I supposed to keep a perspective of my place in this world and more importantly, my role as a believer?
I have been praying over this since early 2020. I have often bunny trailed into places I’ve never ventured before thinking that since everything is seeming like such a hot mess, maybe God wants me to do things I’ve never done before like become more of an activist. After all, most of my kids are grown and so I “could” do more of those things.
He has allowed me to go down some of those trails for short time and what I found is that they are more often like black holes than trails that lead to fruitfulness. God, in His faithfulness, has continually led me back to the words “simple” and “unhurried” time and time again.
As a culture, we are overwhelmed with information, both bad and good. I can spend hours pouring over the latest political or pandemic happenings. I can even more easily spend hours utilizing the endless resources available to study scripture, listen to great teachings and read books on slowing down and simplifying.
But here’s the problem: I am human. I am finite. I am limited in my ability to apply and obey the total sum of all the available resources.
So if I am chasing my tail trying to implement every good idea or principle I read or hear or come across, even those based on scripture, how effective or productive can I really be? How quiet is my heart? How content am I? How at peace am I?
More importantly, am I actually doing what God has called me to do?
If the chief end of man is to “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever”...am I doing that? And if not, how can I?
What if the internet disappeared? What if I needed to rely on the people around me and my own relationship with God and the knowledge and experience I’ve had with Him day in and day out? What would actually be there? What resources would I have to draw from?
Simple. Unhurried. What if that is what God is calling us back to? What if the anxiety we are feeling is a beautiful gift from Him, that He is allowing it to get our attention and reassure us that it’s ok to slow our hearts down? It’s ok to simplify?
It would actually make sense that while the world is on the fast train into the who-knows-where, God would call us to do the opposite. In Matthew 11, Jesus calls us to unforced rhythms of grace reminding us that He wants us to take His yoke because it’s bearable and it’s bearable because it’s there that our souls are at rest.
We have so many resources at our fingertips to help “solve our problems”, but what if many of our burdens are self-inflicted and we don’t even realize it?
I was sharing some of these thoughts with a friend who knows God’s word exceptionally well and whom I respect. He said this:
“The healthiest thing that we can do is to get people back to being resourced in the context of their families and local church rather than always looking outside of those two places to the ‘experts’.
With so many resources at our disposal, we overindulge and end up overwhelming ourselves because we take in way more than we can actually meaningfully apply and obey.”
“We take in more than we can actually meaningfully apply and obey.” Wow. I can relate to this.
In a matter of seconds, I can scroll through 10 stories on social media without filtering them through the lens of the basic truths found in God’s Word.
What if simpler really is better and where do we begin?
I believe we always start by going back to the gospel. We need to have gospel-centered thinking because it’s foundational. We need to have gospel-centered thinking because it revolves around God’s great love for us in giving us Jesus, the gift of our salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and our victory over sin. I don’t mean that we never sin, I mean that when we do (and we do often) there is no more condemnation, only forgiveness, and redemption. The accuser (Satan) no longer has a claim on our lives and God is redeeming us from the inside out.
This truth is what transforms our lives, it is what sets us apart from the world and it is the driving force behind the advancement of God’s kingdom throughout the earth. No matter what is happening around us we can bank on the fact that God repeatedly tells us in His Word that His kingdom will take over the world. Satan will be completely and utterly defeated.
God uses His people to help accomplish that.
Today I was reading in Revelation 12:10, 11 as John speaks of Jesus and the salvation he bought for us through His death, burial, and resurrection. It is the nail in the coffin of Satan’s demise and he knows it.
“Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die.”
The gospel is powerful. Living and speaking its truth is how we overcome. But it means we have to engage its power in our lives by daily yielding to its message: the truth that we are sinners in need of a Savior. It means not only being willing to die for our faith but to die to ourselves. In fact, we will never be willing to die for our faith if we aren’t first willing to die to ourselves.
And no place is that more real than in motherhood.
You may be saying, “How is this helpful? How can this possibly make a difference? How is God’s kingdom advanced through motherhood and family? How am I fulfilling the Great Commission? I’m not exactly preaching the gospel to the nations. Honestly, I’m tired, I’m worn out. I can’t do one more thing, even if I wanted to.”
This isn’t one more thing. This is the thing.
What if I told you that every time you die to yourself within the four walls of your home, you are preaching the gospel? What if I told you that every time you make sacrifices that God is calling you to make: waking up during the night with a fussy baby, sick child, or needy teen, that you are advancing the kingdom of God?
This is the power of the gospel.
“...my obedience even in the smallest detail of life has all of the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. I will do my duty, not for duty’s sake but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience all of the magnificent grace of God is mine through the glorious atonement by the Cross of Christ.”-Oswald Chambers
We have made the mistake of thinking that fulfilling the Great Commission and preaching the gospel only looks like being a speaker or missionary or pastor or Bible Study leader or podcaster or worship leader or maybe having family devotions. But every time WE actively live as though the gospel is actually true, I am preaching the gospel.
St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words.”
When we die to ourselves, our self-sufficiency, our desire to be the final judge of our own hearts instead of letting God do that through His word and by His Spirit and we pick up the cross and follow Him and the truth of who He is, we preach the gospel.
As we do this and share the word of our testimony, we engage the powerful weapons by which the enemy is overthrown including the power of pagan idolatry that we see happening all around us….
The redeemed overcome, as they have all throughout history, by simple reliance on the blood of Christ as the only ground of our hopes.
Matthew Henry said, “We must not blend anything else with this.”
In other words, it’s not the blood of Christ AND my good works, the blood of Christ AND the approval of man, the blood of Christ AND being a “success” at whatever.
This starts at home. We wage war well within the 4 walls of our homes by simple obedience to God, to what He tells us in His Word, and yielding to His comprehensive lordship over our lives. What does “comprehensive lordship” mean? It means that in every area of our lives we are committed to seeking His heart and will for us and walking in full obedience to it.
We go back to being resourced in the context of our families and local church rather than always looking outside of those two places to the ‘experts’.
We choose not to overindulge and end up overwhelming ourselves because we take in way more than we can actually meaningfully apply and obey.
We keep things simple. We slow our hearts down so that we can meditate on the things of God and do the good work He has put in front of us with intention and joy.
Someone once said, “Busy is your calendar. Hurry is your soul,” so we are joyfully busy with the good work that God has given us at home, but our souls are at rest, knowing that our work is a powerful weapon that defeats the enemy. God created the family before He created the church. Family is foundational in the preaching of the gospel and to Kingdom advancement.
Here’s the bottom line: being faithful to Christ in doctrine, worship, and practice exposes the rage of Satan. In other words, it is light and light exposes darkness. This is what we were created to do.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”-Matthew 5:14-15
So, again, as we are faithful to Christ in doctrine, worship, and practice within our homes, we are overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Our families are a living testimony of the gospel.
What if no one is watching?
We preach the gospel whether anyone is watching or not. We preach it “in season and out of season”..... because we are called to do so. We are preaching it to our children and our husbands and even if God is the only one who sees it, it matters because it’s about Kingdom work.
It’s about obedience.
We obey and leave the results up to God.
Make no mistake. We are at war.
That passage in Revelation I read earlier goes on to say this in verse 17:
“And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children,” in other words, all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.
The enemy would love nothing more than to keep you worn out and distracted because he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt just how powerful the simplicity of the gospel lived out at home really is.
So let’s keep the main thing the main thing.
How do we do this? We start by simplifying and making a point of not taking in way more than we can actually meaningfully apply and obey.
Recently I found my personal devotional time to be stressful and anxious. I was trying to do too many different things. I said, “Lord, this isn’t working. Tell me what you want me to do.”
As I waited, He directed me to a devotional I have that focuses on the gospel for 30 days. It includes scripture within the devotional, but also a key verse. Instead of just reading the key verse, I read the entire chapter surrounding that verse(or listen to it on audio Bible app) and then read the devotional for the purpose of focusing on the gospel because I know that simplicity is what I need, and the gospel is the foundation of my faith.
God isn’t interested in overwhelming us. He isn’t interested in seeing how much we can do for Him. He is interested in making us more like Him. He is interested in sanctifying us and typically the most common and powerful means He uses for us as women are marriage and motherhood.
Our work at home matters. Our work at home preaches the gospel. It furthers the Kingdom of God. It defeats the enemy.
Moms, it’s time to put on our aprons and get to work!