In more than 32 years of ministry, Kim I have had the opportunity to counsel with many a husband and wife about their home, marriage, and children. It is always sad to see homes in chaos like so many homes today in the church. The family attends church, but their lives are filled with chaos, drama, sin, and failure. No wonder we have so much failure today in the lives of the second generation of Christian homes. Generally, I find the chaos to come from six areas. I am listing them in no particular order:
- Financial issues
- Moral issues
- Relationship issues-friends, extended family etc.
- Children issues
- Abuse issues
- Bum cyndrome-Don’t want a job can’t keep a job.
- Physical abuse
- Unsaved/carnal mates
All of the above are always caused by a lack of having a real relationship with God. Most Christians have gotten saved, and the disciplining they received was to come to church faithfully, go soul winning, tithe, and be involved in the activities of the church. There is nothing wrong with these things if we have a real relationship with God. However, the average Christian believes these are the things that make them spiritual. It is a “doer” mentality. It is the wrong mentality and it leads to a chaotic life.
What about the issues I mentioned above? They are all sins that come about because of the lack of focus in the spiritual realm.
I have listened to Christians who have their finances so messed up that they are robbing God each week. They can be terribly in debt. Credit cards are used and interest is accruing at an alarming rate. No matter what the financial issue is, it is a poor testimony to rob God and not pay our bills on time. Many times this is just a “lust” issue. I can spend hundreds of dollars on activities, toys, sports, eating out, vacations, clothes etc. and then complain that I do not have enough money!
Foolish spending and lack of self-control creates chaos in the home. I always encourage people to stop, think, and write down how much money they spent in a month on activities, toys, sports, eating out, vacations, clothes, and non-essential items. It takes spiritual discipline to say no. Many people are so out of control with their lack of understanding of this and just chalk it up to “this is what makes them happy”. If I am in debt the proper start in a right way financially is, I need to prayerfully cut out all non-essentials. By the way if you rob God because of foolish spending, your financial situation will only get worse. For men, they need to understand this creates insecurity in their wife. Wife, for the husband it creates an attitude of bitterness toward the wife when the wife cannot understand foolish spending cannot be done. While I do not have time here to go through a complete financial scenario, I want you to understand God has to be first in your life. Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. I have seen people not come to church because they “did not have the money” and a few days later be gone on a trip or an activity. Of course, chaos ensues in their life and home and they wonder why.
Realize that if you have debt do not be satisfied with it and understand changes need to be made to get your debt and financial house in control. Here is the person who spends foolishly and then prays for God to “get me out of this mess.” Let me see if I can help here, maybe I should be praying in my relationship with God, “Lord do you want me to do this, have this, spend this or participate in this?” Make no decision until you know what God wants you to do. If I have many bills the best way to start is to take the lowest one first and pay it on and then follow the same order using the extra money to pay off my bills not spend some more.
Remember, giving to God is not an option, it is a command. Malachi 3:8-10, II Corinthians chapter 8, 9, and10. Proverbs 3:9, Honor the Lord, with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase.
I remember counseling a man several years ago who came to our church services and walked right up to me and said, “I need help my marriage and home is falling apart.” At the end of the service he fell on the alter weeping and going on. When we met to talk about his situation, he professed to be a Christian. His wife had committed immorality, he was drinking every night, his four children were scared to death of what they would come home to. The first three weeks I knew the man and his wife he or she would throw out the others clothes into the front yard every night. Of course, they fought about money (never gave anything to the Lord) and just about everything else. He was addicted to alcohol and was arrested more than once for hitting and shoving his children. He refused to do anything he was instructed to do. His home and his life are shattered with divorce, addiction, jail and fractured children. His wife ran out and got pregnant by another man when she already had children with 4 men! His children hate both parents and just want peace. What am I describing? Total chaos!
Nothing will tear up a family more than moral issues. Moral issues are nothing more than a live for the “lust of the flesh mentality.” James 1:14-15, But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death. I recently read that 40 percent of all marriages end today because of social networking. Also, that many divorce filings mention Facebook by name. Social networking is a craze, but many Christians never ask the question is this an idol of my heart? Lord should I be doing this? A person can be unfaithful in the mind and heart as well as physically. Moral issues create chaos in lives and in the home.
It is amazing to me how carnal minded people can be about extended family. They allow their children to be around people who cuss, yell, scream, talk vulgar and suggestive, and wonder why their children have no desire for God. The grandparents, mother in law, father in law, sister, brother, runs the home or creates chaos if they don’t. How sad that we think that we have to allow these things in our life and home. Genesis 2:24, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Many Christians allow ungodly things in their home and life because “they are family” that they would never put up with from someone else.
Children who do not have a real relationship with God will create chaos in the home. Whoever has the child’s heart has the child. If the parents don’t have the heart then horrible things will occur. Rebellion in a child is caused because the heart has been lost, then hardened, then stolen. Friends can be a powerful influence in a child’s life. I am amazed at the number of non-spiritual Christians who think friends and family are more important than a walk with God! It does take some spiritual discernment to know how to handle the heart of a child. Your goal in life is to glorify God and get the heart of your child and keep it. I Corinthians 6:19-20, Proverbs 23:26.
The abuse issues of alcohol, drugs, physical abuse, and the dysfunctional family are all outlays of the things above. They are “lust” issues. They create chaos in the home.
Finally, the unsaved mate creates havoc in the home. Sadly, many a young girls’ life has been ruined by an unsaved mate, or a person who professes to be saved but has no interest in walking with God. Chaos follows this person in their life. Many ladies have called or sat across from me and my wife crying about the lack of spiritual desire of their husband and the chaos in their home. These people kill the spiritual desire of their mate and their children.
Our churches are filled with people who have chaos in their life, but no real desire to change anything. They want God to do something about it, when God tells them to do something about it. TO HAVE A REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM! Ephesians 4:22-24.
A real relationship with God. How does that happen? Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit (we are saved) let us also walk in the Spirit. Folks, we have to have a real relationship with the Spirit of God to control our walk. Otherwise the devil will control our soul and he will control our walk. God speaks to our spirit from the inside of us. The devil seeks to control our soul by putting outside pressure on us.
Our relationship with God is a matter of worship. The Holy Spirit of God speaking to our spirit. One of the great joys of my life is to daily have God speak to my life through His word. John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” My daily time with God is worship.
Now, let’s talk about how to have that real relationship with God. When I met Kim, who is now my wife, I decided I wanted to have relationship with her. I wanted to be around her. I wanted to talk to her and listen to her. Communication is the most important thing about building a relationship. A relationship is not a one way street. It is a two way street of talk and listen, listen and talk. God speaks to my spirit through his Spirit through His word. To have communication with God I must deal with my sin. So, to have a real relationship with God I must do several things:
1. I have to deal with my sin daily. Remember talk listen, listen and talk. I learned at the park in the car several years ago to ask God if there was any sin that stood between me and Him that day. Lord show it to me. He will. When He does, I need to confess the sin and turn from it, I John 1; 9. I am now free to communicate with God. You know, I found out how gracious and loving God is as He dealt with me through His word in dealing with my sins. Sometimes it almost literally hurt to see how ugly my life was. The joy of sins forgiven and the openness of which God now opened His word to me I thought was incredible.
2. We developed a program here at Hope Biblical Counseling Center several years ago called “How to Have a Daily Time With God.” The premise is to have a note book called a “Daily Spiritual Diary”. Each day I use a page of the note book, and write down 1. God’s Message to Me Today. 2. A Promise from God. 3. A Command to Keep, 4. A Timeless Principle (a principle that is good for all time in both Old and New Testament). 5. My Application. 6. Additional Comments. I recommend you have a spiral bound notebook for your “Daily Spiritual Diary”. Folks, the note book does not lie as I put the date of each day right at the top. It is a record of my faithfulness in my relationship with the Savior.
3. Each day I ask God to give me His message for me today. In essence I want to hear from God for real. “Lord, show me what you have today for me from your word. Please make it real to my life.”
Folks, God does not bless Bible readers; He blesses Bible meditators, Psalm 1:1-6. As I am reading down through my Bible when the Holy Spirit shows me a truth I stop! I read the verse over several times. I break down the verse. If I do not know what some words mean in the verse, I look it up. Listen carefully, the reason I stopped is because I have asked the Holy Spirit to give me His message for me today. God speaks to my heart (meditator) about this passage. Meditating is thinking about the passage. Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” This verse is not about memorizing the Bible for knowledge purposes it is about putting it in your heart (meditator). I am stopped to listen to God. It is time to stop, not talk and listen and learn from the Master Teacher. I then write it down in my own words. I them proceed and the Holy Spirit stops me again for a promise, command etc. I dissect the verse that the Holy Spirit has stopped me on. Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
I have a page in my “Daily Spiritual Diary” where I write special thoughts from God and meditate on them. I want to have a real relationship with the God of the universe and I want Him to speak to me. I then write down under “My Application”, what all this means to me and how I can apply it to my life. I write it down in my own words.
4. Now we come to the prayer time. Remember a relationship is about talk and listen, listen and talk. As I come to prayer, I ask God to speak to my spirit today about what He wants me to pray about. “Lord what do you want me to pray about today?” This is very important. Remember I John 2:15-17 where the devil is seeking to control my life through outside pressure through the lust of the flesh, an overwhelming desire to do, lust of the eyes, an overwhelming desire to have, and the pride of life, an overwhelming desire to be. Listen carefully, after asking God what He wants me to pray about today, and praying about it as He speaks to me. I then ask God what He wants me to do today. What He wants me to have today and what He wants me to be today. Effectively, I have disarmed the devil’s approach by turning these three areas over to God. Folks, would it not be better to pray about what God wants you to do, have, and be? The people who come through our counseling program are always talking about what they want to do, what they want to have, and what they want to be. I know immediately they are being controlled by the devil’s influence on their soul and he is therefore controlling their body and therefore controlling what they ultimately do.
5. There are three more things I want to ask God about. First of all who does He want me to witness to today? Then I stop talking (be quiet) and listen to God. Remember a relationship is a two way street, talk and listen, listen and talk. After God tells me who to witness to today, I then ask him who He wants me to encourage today. When He brings up that person I pray for them and then maybe give them a call or write them a note. Thirdly, I ask God what I can praise Him for today. There are many passages of scripture that tell us to praise God. However, I want to know what He wants me to praise Him for. Why do I pray about whom to witness to today, encourage today, and to praise God for? Because I am focusing on others and not myself. When most Christians pray they have a list and they go down it and it is, “Lord give me this and I want that or let me be this.” It is a self-righteous way to pray and it is not going anywhere, because it is the way the devil wants to focus in the Christian’s life to get them to love the world. I John 2:15, “If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in Him.” Does that mean he is lost? No, it means he does not have a real relationship with God. His love is somewhere else, the world. When you develop a real relationship with the Savior, it will be a love relationship. Think about it, the God of the universe is speaking to me and I am listening to Him. I am talking to Him and He is listening to me. What will really effectively increase your faith, will be when you ask God what to pray about and He tells you and you pray about it and it is answered. When was the last time you had a real answer to prayer. Are you self-righteously praying?
I use to play professional baseball as a pitcher. When I would stand on the mound I would look at the catcher and ignore the hitter. When I threw a 92 mile an hour fast ball by the hitter I was focused on me and the catcher. In baseball terms it was called “he is in the zone.” Nothing else was focused on. I liken that to my relationship to God. It is personal, (between me and God), intimate (it is a love relationship, very close to each other), passionate (there is real desire there). Nothing motivates you more than to know that God will speak to you today and will hear you speak to Him. Talk listen, listen talk.
Without the intimate, personal, passionate relationship between me and God I am doomed to disaster after disaster and failure in many parts of my life. It will always affect my wife and children. If I am living the Christian life in unrighteousness or self-righteousness (seeking to live the Christian life in my own power), I am doomed to a lot of pain and destruction in my life. The devil really does not care if I live it either way it is fine with him.
The sadness of the hour in which we live is many Christians do not have a real relationship with God. Folks, do not think that I have said memorization of scripture is not good, it is, but by itself will create a self-righteous life. If you memorize it meditate on it. How does God speak to you through the verses? Also, you have to read your Bible to meditate, but you have to stop to study and listen to the Spirit of God when He wants to show you what He wants for you from God’s Word. Do not just keep on going because you have three or four chapters you must read today. You have to stop and listen! A real relationship requires we spend quality time together. Kim is my best friend. She is someone I can talk to and listen to. She is the love of my life. My relationship with the Lord is to be like that as well.
We have a booklet on our web site called “How to Have A Daily Time With God”. It will show you step by step how to have an intimate, personal, passionate relationship with the Savior. Remember, my baseball story. While I was pitching the infielders behind me would chatter to try to distract the hitter and disrupt their concentration. I was in the zone, just me and the catcher. After the pitch, I would hear an infielder say, “way to go hum baby!” When you have a real intimate personal, passionate relationship with the Lord, you are in the zone and humming. When the devil comes along with his outside pressure, you are focused on the Spirit of God speaking to your spirit and your soul is then controlled by the Spirit of God and so is your body, thus you are Spirit controlled and walking in the Spirit.
When there is outside pressure from the devil instead of responding to people with anger, meanness, harshness or other responses, you are responding with the fruits of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-22, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.”
Once I learned what it was to have a real relationship with God, as a father, I knew I had to teach it to my children. I wanted them to really know the Lord. I went through it with them about what all this meant. I wanted them to know how to have a real relationship with God. Without it they will be a disaster when they leave my house. Many times I would ask my daughters when they were growing up, “what is God speaking to you about?” Their answers were always revealing to me. I did not just hope it would happen. I wanted them to taste of the Lord and see that He was good! We spent time talking about our relationship with God. I would ask them what God was speaking to them about to pray about. We talked about it and as they got older they would come with real excitement to tell me what God was speaking to them about or what God had taught them. We would have that excitement and joy together. I believe the principle of Ephesians 6:4 is very important here. “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.” How would a father provoke his children to wrath? Could it be because he did not teach them to have a real relationship with the Lord? So, they learn in their life when the outside pressure comes from Satan how to respond by being controlled by their soul and respond in the dictates of the flesh. One of those is “wrath”, Galatians 5:19-21. The rest of Ephesians 6:4 says, “But bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” It means training with structure. I say again folks, how can a parent get the heart of their child and train them to have a relationship with the Lord if they are living a self-righteous (living the Christian life in the own power) or unrighteous life? It is not going to happen and the end result for the child’s life is the works of the flesh list of Galatians 5:19-21. (Read that list over and meditate on it. Are you or your children in that list?). The kind of life the self-righteous Christian lives is a real grind. It is over and over the same thing keeping the rules, but not experiencing the power of a real relationship with God. The Christian who lives that way takes on the 19 characteristics of the apostate age in which we live from II Timothy 3:1-5. How does it end? “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” What a miserable life and a destructive life! It does not have to be that way. We can have victory through the power of the Spirit of God who indwells us and wants us to have a real relationship with Him.
If you need help because you are caught in the sins of the flesh because of outside pressure from the devil and do not know what to do, feel free to contact us. May God help you today seek and have a real relationship with Him.