A few days ago I started an online Bible study with Lysa Terkeurst, the founder and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. The first couple days were really eye-opening ideas about how to be in the right place – in your mind and in your heart – when you sit down to spend time in the Word. They are likely basics for many people, but I am one of those who can really struggle with Scripture and how to connect it back to everyday life. Lysa’s teachings are helping already.
Today, we were challenged to read Philippians 1 and really sink our teeth into the meaning. There is a reason we were to be reading that chapter today and Lysa’s questions offered some thought-provoking insights. The verse that stuck for me was Philippians 1:6. “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” It hit home because I’ve been feeling a bit of an extra challenge with work lately. Some adjustments, some new territory and some uncertainty have snuck into my “everyday.” It’s been a little tricky. Normally, I’m a pretty upbeat, positive and fun-loving person and lately, I’ve even felt like “I’m not me” at the office. So, this verse got me thinking and really helped me to stop and recognize all the good things that God has laid in my path in my professional life. And, it gave me confidence that even those situations or people who can make things very difficult, are there for a reason and that I shouldn’t let that take away from the greater purpose. I have to admit, I feel a lot better and am more clear-headed now than I was before today’s session. Note to Lysa, mission accomplished for today!
We chatted about how much better it is when you do what is right, even when it’s uncomfortable. This led to a discussion about the not-so-wise behavior of some of her classmates. It’s natural for children to want to tell on their classmates when they are behaving badly. But something tonight nudged me to ask her if she ever thinks about why those kids are acting that way? We rarely know the motivation behind someone’s actions and it could very well be a cry for help. Maybe they really just don’t realize what a bad choice they are making. Either way, Jesus tells us to love our enemy and even offer our other cheek when being mistreated. I pulled out my Bible and read her Matthew 5:44. In her typical, 7-year-old, “I know it all” way she looked at me and said, “mommy, every time we talk about something that happens, you have a story from the Bible about it!” I had to laugh out loud and quietly praise God! “That’s because this book is God’s instruction manual for how He expects us to live,” I responded. There’s nothing that we will go through in life that there isn’t help in here for, I told her.
And, then, ahh the irony. Or better yet, the teaching moment. Not for her, but for me. As I re-read that verse and thought about the very words I spoke to my daughter I realized perhaps the lesson was for me. Perhaps I needed to remember to love my enemy. On a day where I had spent a lot of time thinking through the application of Philippians 1, I found a very big connection for everyday life nestled in Matthew and a conversation with my sweet, insightful daughter.