Sunday, 21 February 2021
Title: Live the Life in the Family
By Elder Tan Seng Kee
Last month my devotion was to live the Life (which is PBC’s theme for 2021) in the church with particular reference to Matt 4:4 where Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” I then referred to the 1st temptation of the devil in Matt 4 and specifically pointed out that our response to that temptation is to trust God for the right timing, to depend on God for every situation in our lives and to come into God’s presence with full confidence of our worth and value in Jesus because Jesus has redeemed us and we are God’s children.
To live the life requires me to fully, totally and always obey Jesus. I will now share on to live the life in the family. To live the Christian life in the family is not easy because our family members know us well and they will easily spot hypocrisy if I do not practice what I preach. Jesus, however, calls us to live the life not only in church but also in our family as well as our workplace (which I will share in next month’s devotion).
In the 2nd temptation in Matt 4:5, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, which is the city of God, and to the Temple where people gather to worship God and at the highest point of the Temple, we can conclude a close proximity to God. Yet under such circumstances; in the holy city and with closeness to God, the devil nevertheless went on ahead to tempt Jesus and challenge God. Three points to note from this in living the life in the family:
- The devil will constantly cause us to doubt each other and instill strife, dissension and bitterness in our family. There are many occasions where instead of kind words we go on a diet of negativities and follow up with a barrage of unkind words. Our position as redeemed children of God does not insulate us from the snares of the devil to disobey God with harsh words and cruel deeds which disrupt our family life. Hence it is necessary that I remind myself each day that I should love my family unconditionally just as Jesus loved me and died for me when I was still a sinner and an enemy of God. Loving unconditionally means I will care and love those in my family in all circumstances and Proverbs 10:12 (b) teaches me that “…love covers all offenses.” It means I should be fervent and intentional in loving my family and I am confident in due course to win over their respect and love as well.
- In my family I must learn to listen and speak to each other often. I must talk but I must also listen carefully and intently. If there is a need, I must ask for clarifications. I must not reply in haste and the worst time to reply is when I am angry. Jesus listened carefully to the words of the devil in Matt 4:6 and Jesus knew that the devil had quoted Ps 91:11-12 out of context. The Psalmist rejoices in the assurance of God’s protection only if they make God their refuge and shelter (which the devil conveniently did not mention). Jesus knows the scriptures but he would have also listened carefully so that He can reply aptly to the devil’s misreading of the scriptures. So, let’s listen more.
- The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control is already present in my renewed life as a Christian but I must work hard at ‘developing’ them in me. Through reading of the Bible and daily applying its truth into my life, by incessant prayers and worship of our great God as well as fellowship with fellow Christians, I can develop the fruit of the Spirit which is necessary for me to live the life of obedience to Jesus in my family.
Matt 4:7 reads “Do not test the Lord your God.” Let us not doubt God enabling us to live the life well in our family. Living the Christ-like life in my family is possible because God commands us to take care of our family first (1 Timothy 5:8) and where God commands, He also provides the means for us to do that well.
God, please help me to live the life well in my family. Help me to daily develop the fruit of the Spirit in my life so that others will be blessed and see the goodness of Jesus in my family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
上个月，我所写的灵修是“在教会里活出生命”（也是我们PBC教会2021年的主题），特别针对马太福音4:4耶稣的回答： “人活着不是单靠食物，乃是靠神口里所出的一切话。” 然后，我提到了马太福音4章中魔鬼的第一次试探，并特别指出，我们对这类试探的反应是相信上帝的时间，在生活中的每一种情况下都依靠上帝，并坦然无惧地来到上帝的同在里，深信我们在基督耶稣里的价值，因为耶稣救赎了我们，我们是上帝的孩子。