Having kids has done something to my brain. I often find myself yelling things as I drive down the road. Random things like, “Oooh, look at those horses!” Or “Hey, I see a fire truck!” And the sad thing is – I do this even when there aren’t any kids in my car. It’s like an involuntary reflex. Anybody with me?
A few weeks ago, we were visiting family back in Louisiana. I was driving to my grandparents’ house, and all of a sudden, I spotted a Volkswagen Bug, so I shouted, “Punch buggy, no punch-backs!” Brienne and I had been playing this game – you know the one where whoever spots the VW bug first gets to punch the other person. But this time, Brienne wasn’t with me. Yep, that’s right. She wasn’t even in the car. Just the babies, Peter, and my sweet, young, cool, newly-married sister-in-law. It was slightly embarrassing. But honestly, those words just flew out of my mouth before I could stop them. It was just a reflex. An impulse. There was nothing I could do to prevent it.
What if we were like that with God’s Word? What if we knew the Bible so well that whenever we opened our mouths, His words came out instead of our own? What if we impulsively shouted, “He is good and His love endures forever!” Or “The Almighty God is with me and His Spirit gives me breath!” Don’t you want to know Christ in such a way that He becomes our every breath?
I’ve recently been studying Psalm 84, particularly verses 1-2, and 4.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God… Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”
I want to love God like this! I want to yearn for Christ each and every day. I want my heart and flesh to cry out to the Holy One, the Living God. But how is this possible? I think verse 4 is the key: those who dwell in the house of the Lord are constantly praising Him. “They are ever praising” God.
But what does this mean, exactly? How can we constantly praise the Lord? I know for me, as a busy wife and mother, it is so easy to get distracted. Case in point: Yesterday I picked up Brie from school, quizzed her for two tests, cooked supper, and attempted to keep Vivienne out of the dog bowl. I was so busy with those things that I completely forgot to put Jonah on the potty, and the next thing I knew, Peter came home and stepped in a puddle of pee. (Welcome home, honey.) But if it’s so easy to forget about something or someone who is right in front of me, how much easier is it to forget about the Lord?
Here are some things I’ve found to be helpful as I strive to continuously praise the Lord:
1) Play praise and worship music throughout the house (I can’t resist singing along)
2) When doing laundry or making lunches, I pray for my family, and thank God for them
3) When browsing Facebook, I pray for my friends
4) Memorize scripture so that the words of Christ are constantly on my tongue
5) When I glimpse a photo of my family, I say a quick prayer
The Bible says that we should always be ready to give an explanation for the hope we have in Jesus. In order to “be ready,” we must know what we believe and we must know God’s Word so well that it rolls off our tongues.
We also have to be ready to use God’s Word as a weapon against Satan. There have been times in my life where I have encountered such immense darkness that the only thing I could say was, “Jesus, Jesus.” I know that at the name of Jesus, darkness flees. (Hallelujah!)
Often throughout my day, however, I won’t necessarily feel a dark presence but I will find myself being tempted. Maybe it’s a temptation to overreact to something in anger, a temptation to gossip, a temptation to watch something that would not be pleasing to the Lord, a temptation to overeat, or a temptation to be prideful. I have to be ready to counteract those temptations with the Word of God because I know I can’t resist the devil by myself. I need Holy back-up. And I want to ensure that my reactions to temptations and difficult situations reflect Christ. Especially in front of my kids.
I am extremely grateful that God’s Word is “sharper than any two-edged sword.” So – how about we wield that sword? Let’s dig into scripture, memorize it, talk about it with our kids. And then it will come out of our mouths involuntarily whenever we need it. (And hopefully it will replace the dreaded “Punch buggy no punch backs.” Ugh…)