February 10, 2014

Remain In Him: Intentional Christian Motherhood, Week 2


This is the second week of the 12-week Intentional Christian Motherhood Series.  Welcome!  Be sure to check out last week's post as well - Develop A Mission Statement.  I'm meeting with an awesome group of gals here in my hometown (every other week) to discuss the group questions together from each post.  You can join our Facebook Group to get involved in the discussions!


Remain In Him
The Foundation of Bearing Spiritual Fruit in Our Homes
“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
According to Jesus, if we really want to be his disciples, if we truly desire fruit to show in our lives, then we must “abide” in him.  Apart from him, it’s not possible.  Christ is the source of all good things that we hope to produce in our families and our homes; without him, our successes are only surface-deep.

If you made a mission statement last week, consider the woman you are aspiring and praying to become.  What are the characteristics that you desire to see as a part of the fabric of your home?  Do you yearn for the evidence of God’s presence to be tangible in your life as you interact with your family and manage your household? 

In the Bible, these evidences of God’s Spirit at work are referred to as “fruit,” often portrayed as the product of a healthy plant – one firmly rooted, taking in water from a flowing stream, bearing fruit according to what it was created to produce.  Even in the smallest details of motherhood, the litany of responsibilities that seem unimportant and purposeless, they are meant to produce fruit – fruit that God designed you to bear.  That’s great purpose!

From Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit is:
What would our home be like if we were displaying these attributes toward our husbands and children? Take a second to reflect on each word in this list, one-by-one, and imagine how each characteristic would manifest itself in your daily circumstances (i.e. when disciplining your children, juggling a hectic schedule, changing diapers, washing dishes, or waking with a baby in the middle of the night).

These are the traits I want to possess, from the overflow of a transformed life in Christ, so that I can have positive eternal impact on my family.  This glorifies our Maker.

How do we “remain in him?”  Through the disciplines of Bible-reading, prayer, & worship – all with an open heart.  Without spending time with the Lord, our efforts to produce this kind of fruit – a genuine fruit – is vain.  Apart from the true vine, Jesus says we “wither,” and our fruit is counterfeit.  Useless. 

As Christ-following mothers, it is foundational to recognize the significance of “remaining in Him” on a daily basis, so that we can receive the capacity to love as Christ commands us to love and bear the fruit of his Spirit.  Our families need it and the Lord is worthy of it.

- Em

 “Home” Work

·      Read John 15:1-17 & Galatians 5:22-23
o   Read each passage a few times (they're typed above; so you don't even have to look them up) and take notes.  How do these verses apply to your role as a mother? 
o   Based on these two passages, turn your thoughts, convictions, & desires into prayer.  Pray this scripture back to God; make it personal.

·      Read the chapter “Foundation: Surrendering our Homes to the Creator”
o  by Natalie Klejwa, an excerpt from the book The Heart of Simplicity(I was about to write Natalie to ask if she would give me permission to post her chapter through my blog when I discovered that she has already offered her chapter for free online!  It was destiny!)
o   This is a single chapter reading, so it shouldn’t be overly time-consuming.  I feel absolutely sure that you will be edified and inspired to make some basic changes/improvements to your spiritual habits as a foundational principle to building your home (and your life).  The dishes can wait – read this!  (Click on the image below & add it to "cart" to download the free pdf).
HOS
   
·      Bonus
o   Consider who might make a good accountability partner to encourage you to stay faithful in prayer and Bible-reading.  Set specific goals (ex. “15 minutes everyday,” “read the New Testament in a year,” “attend a Bible study,” etc.), commit it to prayer, and find someone to hold you accountable.


Group Questions:

1.     What were some insights you gained when reading John 15:1-17 & Galatians 5:22-23?  Was there anything new that jumped out at you?  Want to share anything from your notes?
2.     From Natalie’s chapter in The Heart of Simplicity: “Is spending time feeding your soul on His Word each day as much a priority to you as brushing your teeth, eating lunch, or taking a shower?”
3.     From Natalie’s chapter in The Heart of Simplicity: “What are some ‘time-wasters’ that you find hard to let go of?”
4.     How would you use that time if you were to give up those “time-wasters” for personal spiritual growth?
5.     Are you considering an accountability partner who will ask you if you’re reading your Bible daily?  Did you set any measurable goals for spending more time with the Lord?
6.     Optional Activity – Craft a reminder of John 15:5 or Galatians 5:22-23 to post somewhere in your home!  

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