Meditations for Troubled Times
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2:13-14)
In The Heart of Anger, Lou Priolo posed this riddle: What is the first rule for teaching a parakeet how to talk? What is your answer? When I was around five years old, our country doctor had a parakeet that could talk. I felt that, if I could teach my parakeet how to talk, I could control the universe. I never accomplished this, and it eventually fell off of my bucket list of goals to reach. I will not answer the question; I’m going to leave it up to you to solve this great mystery.
But what shouldn’t be mysterious are the two texts above. We should consider how to apply them to our lives at home. How do we make sure our speech at home follows these imperatives as we seek to honor God and build a home that worships God according to what He requires? Remember the sermon Sunday night regarding the Lord’s Day? Nehemiah’s people were having trouble worshiping because their vocabulary was corrupt. It did not revolve around words that had anything to do with discerning the difference between what was clean and unclean. Biblical language was foreign to them. Give time to listen to each other as you discuss what is going on with your family. Are you speaking words that indicate you are taken “captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ”? Hopefully you recognize that “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2:8-10)
When was the last time you had a discussion about the richness of baptism? Did you simply check off your infant-baptism parental duty and have a celebration with family? Are you neglecting the sanctifying work that baptism works in your life? Dr. Jay Adams gives the illustration that baptism in Christ is placing us like a bean in a clay pot. Everywhere we go we are in this pot. We are not dumped out like throwing out the baby with the bath water. Reflections on baptism are for all the saints to hold on to and relish because Jesus has us in His hands.
What follies do you run to? During my junior year of high school, I did well in my first Freudian psychology class. I diagnosed every person I met and figured out exactly what was wrong with them. I spent a lot of time in college adding to the pile of these worldly philosophies. Almost everything I studied was in direct opposition to Deuteronomy 6, 1 Corinthians 2:13-14, and the sufficiency of Scripture.
How do you grow? Learn words uncorrupted by empty, demonic philosophies. There is a misguided sentiment that we should avoid Christian jargon, but we should purpose to use words such as “sanctification” and other biblical themes in our conversations with others. Seek mature and sound speech in The Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Pray for one another, that we all may resist the urge to blend the truth and the world while talking together.