Our family has a set of beliefs that we attempt to have shape our behavior. These beliefs guide us and keep us in check when we are either at a loss as to how to behave, or when our patience gets thin and we are tempted to be selfish and behave poorly.
The teaching and studying about these beliefs has become a part of our school day. I think that it is equally important to leave school years with a strong character as it is to leave academically prepared. In our home, character is blatantly taught and developed.
The primary resource that we use for this is a devotional guide called Our 24 Family Ways written by a man named Clay Clarkson. I have been a fan of the Clarkson family for years, and when they published this devotional, I immediately adapted it for our family’s use.
I thought I’d spend a few posts using this guide as a springboard for “conversation” about what we are requiring of ourselves and our families.
Our first Family Way is: We love and obey our Lord Jesus Christ with wholehearted devotion.
Matthew 22:37 – 38 “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (NIV)
Everything for us begins here. Who do we believe God is, who do we believe we are, what does He say about us, and in light of that, how do we live? The answers to those questions lead us to the conclusion that our first mission/goal is to love and obey God.
If someone could observe your life for a day, how would they know what is really important to you? What would they see? What does it mean to have “wholehearted devotion”?
If you were to have the ear of a future king, what advice would you want to give him? In I Chronicles 28:8 – 10, David has called together all the leaders of Israel to pass the torch of leadership to his son, Solomon. The advice that he gives him is to seek and serve the Lord wholeheartedly.
What is the relationship between loving Jesus and obeying Him? What are the “commands” of Jesus?
From Deuteronomy 5:28 – 33, as Israel prepares to enter the Promised Land, Moses recalls what God said at Mt. Sinai 40 years before, and reminds the people to fear God, to serve Him, and obey Him.
What we do with this devotional is to memorize both the family way and the scripture (Matthew 22: 37 – 38) and then to discuss the questions that I listed. Of course, many other conversations are birthed along the way as we wrestle with what this means for our lives.
Because this is a foundational principle upon which all others are built, we refer back to this one on a regular basis. I believe that eternal works can’t result from our lives unless we are committed to loving, obeying, and wholeheartedly being devoted to God.
To what are you devoted? Whom are you obeying? Take a little bit of time this week to answer those questions for yourself. And then feel free to respond back with ways that you demonstrate that devotion. I’d be eager to hear what a variety of faith walks look like!