Have you experienced some heart-turning in marriage and family or heart-hardening while navigating through the Covid curveballs this year? Many folks have been impacted by job loss, the loss of a loved one, isolation and illness. In the midst of all the challenges, many have also experienced a new level of contentment in faith and family.
“In every setting in which we are put, the Spirit of God remains unchanged and His salvation unaltered but we have to ‘put on the new man.’”- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. The old man may have taken some body blows this year but in reflection, the impact was more a function of conformance to the pattern of this world. As schedules cleared, time with family increased and adjustments were made, families were blessed by the ‘new man’ in the home.
If you have heard Jesus and have been taught by Him according to the Truth that is in Him, then you know to take off your former way of life, your old self – corrupted by deceitful desire and lust – and to let God renew your attitude and spirit. Then put on your new self, modeled after the very likeness of God: truthful, righteous and holy. – Ephesians 4:21-24. The former way of life, your old self may very well have been more under the influence of the world than realized. Pressure to provide, to be successful and even stress on the kids to be successful have taken a toll on marriages and family. The Light of the Lord blasted through a lot of the distractions across this year and turned the hearts of fathers to their children. Dads were given a unique opportunity to be renewed in attitude and spirit and begin to get more engaged in the education of their children, academically and spiritually. Many fathers are taking off the old self and putting on the new.
Tips for healthy reflection:
- Lead family discussions over dinner around situations or challenges you were facing one year ago;
- Read Malachi 4:6 and discuss what heart-turning has gone on across this year;
- Discuss valleys endured or frustrations that may still be very real;
- Re-read Ephesians 4:21-24 and encourage each family member to discuss what has been learned about the old self in 2020 and how attitude and spirit might be renewed by putting on a new self.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your sovereignty. Too often I have acted as if I am my own god, taking control and fixing problems in my strength. Forgive me. The experiences of 2020 have reminded me that You are God and I am not You. My fixes often get me out of sync with Your solution – knowing You and emulating You in marriage and family. Reflecting on this year, I have a newfound respect for Your design for fathers and family – dads and moms provide the foundation for family; family provides the foundation for faith and education; and faith and education are foundational for good citizenship and a healthy nation. Grant me strength in my new self, modeled after You, to be the father You call me to be, to stay in sync with Your solution. Thank You Dad for the opportunity to reflect on the old self and step forward in the new. Amen.
A faithful father makes time to reflect on the old self and steps forward in the new.