4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. —Deuteronomy 6:4-9
This month we are thinking about how to change our families. I’m suggesting God can use seven words to do a lot of the work. No, these are not magic words that work by just saying them or thinking them. These are words that work wonders when we actually put them into practice. They are all words the Bible points out as reliable tools for life-change. That’s why God’s Word also insists the effectiveness of the words comes from applying them rather than just knowing them (James 1:22).
Scattered throughout these devotionals you will find words which if put into practice will change your environment, your family, and most of all, you. Here are the seven words: forgiveness, blessing, honor, commitment, church, love, and truth. This is not a menu you can choose from; it’s an intricate and wonderful pattern in which God promises to participate. It is also a pattern that becomes increasingly ineffective the more any of the parts are neglected or ignored. All seven words point to a significant connection between members of a family and a church family.
As Deuteronomy 6:4-9 teaches, our families are the best setting for continual conversations about God. We ought to be talking about His Word when we hang out (“sit in your house”), take a drive (“walk by the way”), wrap up the day (“lie down”), and when we greet each other in the morning (“rise up”). If God and His Word are strangers in our homes, the fall-out will be a disaster where forgiveness isn’t given, blessing is ignored, honor is withheld, commitment is lacking, church is neglected, love is absent, and truth is avoided. God’s Word encourages us to be engaged in all these matters. When we give God’s priorities the attention they deserve, our lives and the lives of our families are transformed.
These seven words are certainly not the only ones God wants us to have on our minds and in our conversation, but they are a great start. How many of these will make their way into your interaction today: forgiveness, blessing, honor, commitment, church, love, and truth? Let God use them to bring about good change in your family’s life.—James MacDonald
· Which of the seven words do I think my family exhibits the most consistently? Why?
· Which word needs the most intentional work? How will I start?
Prayer - Father, thank You for Your Word and Your words. Thank You in particular for these seven challenging words. Help me to speak about them in my family this month. Help us all to make them the guidelines for our relationships and go hard after them. Thank You for promising Your help along the way as we seek to obey You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.