One of the most frequent problems we hear of from families is their feeling of being different. Certainly they are different from the world, but most generally they are also different from other Christians. Here is a recent request we received concerning these situations:
It would be great to have an encouraging Corner, one about how our walk is so very different from what even other Christians’ walks are.
It’s not easy making conservative Christian choices, even more so for a single, conservative Christian mom—there’s got to be more than one of me out there—a mom who’s the mom and the earner, who requires her children to obey, has modesty standards, limits outside influence and has her focus on the raising of her family, and having to do that alone.
Yet what’s really interesting is that every time I’m about to give in to what the world tempts, God steps in to remind me, usually through somebody else or somebody else’s situation, that the conservative choices I, or we, have made, are the right ones.
What I would like to say concerning the encouragement of our hearts when we are different from others around us will apply to women who are single as well as moms who have husbands. Those of us who face our uniqueness in raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) as a husband and wife team will struggle with the peer pressure of other Christians. For the single mom, it will be even harder because she doesn’t have the benefit of having a husband who will lead and support her.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
In these verses, we see the importance for a single mom of her relationship with the Lord Jesus. He is that One Who will lift her up and warm her heart. If, in her busyness with life, she doesn’t make time to spend in the Word, she will flounder in her personal spiritual walk and in her commitment to what the Lord Jesus is calling her family to in obedience to Him.
In a threefold cord that is not easily broken, we also are made aware of how needful it is for a husband and wife, even though they are in agreement, to have the Lord Jesus Christ as that third part of the cord.
The foundation for maintaining an obedient walk with the Lord Jesus Christ is in our personal and family time in the Word. The more we are in the Word, the more we will know the direction the Lord Jesus is calling our families. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105). We are often amazed when we come into contact with likeminded families that the one thing they have in common is a love for and hunger for the Word, which manifests itself in a commitment to having daily time in the Word as individuals and as a family.
Time in the Word helps us to know that our choices are biblical. We are basing those decisions on Scripture, not on what others are saying and doing. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17.)
Time in the Word will allow us to discern if we begin to follow another family, a person, or our own whims rather than the Bible. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Finally, time in the Word is the basis for the spiritual growth we need if we want to walk in obedience to the light the Lord Jesus has given to us. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). The only way to stand firm when others criticize what we are doing or try to conform us to what they think we should be is to be spiritually strong and grounded. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
Being different from other Christians can cause us to doubt what the Lord Jesus has called us to do. We might wonder whether we could truly know what Scripture is instructing us to do when so many others are making other choices. That is why being in the Word is non-optional for us. We have to know the basis for what we are doing so that we can be committed to it with steadfastness. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).
The starting place for how we deal with our feelings when we are different from other Christians is in our commitment to being in the Word. This time in the Word gives us direction for our lives, grounding in decisions, and spiritual strength. May we be women who make time for the Word and delight in what it brings to our lives.