Authentic New Testament Solutions

On Being Stable

Do you want to strengthen your family? Do you want to be a pillar in your community? Do you want to be at peace? Do this . . . . .

God has established two institutions to help us all live healthy and strong lives—the family and the church. Since human beings make up our families and our churches, there are glaring flaws in both. Even so, those who mature wisely draw great mental, physical, and spiritual stability from participating in these institutions. And interestingly, the two entities work well together. If the family becomes dysfunctional, the church has the ability to make up the gap. If the church becomes dysfunctional, the family has the ability to make up the gap. So ultimately, we can all live better lives and be more stable in every way by learning how to build healthy families and churches.

ABC News reports that eighty-three percent of Americans self-identify as Christians. Most of the rest, 13 percent, identify as having no religion. That leaves just 4 percent as adherents of all non-Christian religions combined — Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and a smattering of individual mentions. That means that 83% of our population shares some degree of common direction by believing that the Bible at least includes the Word of God and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who demonstrated for all of us what God is really like.

Inherent in having a foundation of Christian faith is the core value of embracing forgiveness and kindness instead of revenge and fear, and contributing to the health and strength of our families and our churches. Doing so creates a very different world than many human beings currently survive in. I believe everything we do is a combination of five desires within all of us: survival, love and belonging, freedom, power, and fun. When we do our part to create a healthy family, everyone in the family can have those five basic needs satisfied. When we do our part to create a healthy church that our family participates in, more people in our community can have those five basic human needs satisfied. In contrast, when the family and/or church gets sick, we start trying to survive without having our needs being met in a healthy way.

So how do we do our part to build a healthy family and participate in a healthy church? We read our Bibles, ourselves, to glean life-giving ideas that “teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. The Bible corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16b-17).

The first few verses of the book of Proverbs explain the purpose of the proverbs. We can apply this explanation to all of Scripture, which is a strong motivation to read the whole Bible and apply it. Proverbs 1:2-6 says,

“Their (the Proverbs) purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.

“These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.”

What a wonderful world we would be living in if we who identify as Christians would simply read and apply the Scriptures. To grasp this idea, read and re-read, then think about the previous two paragraphs from Proverbs. Maybe you could talk about those two paragraphs with someone. Why? Because sometimes we have a tendency to read the Bible just to pick up a few nice ideas, or maybe find good points or suggestions for addressing meetings or preparing sermons. Certainly that is better than never being exposed to the Scriptures. But generally that approach does not get rid of our ignorance of the true meaning of the Scriptures, and leaves the Bible unnecessarily ineffective in our lives. That approach engenders superficiality, both mentally and spiritually.

I’ve seen it too many times. People live their lives as they please until tragedy strikes. Then they randomly ask God to give them guidance through Scripture, or to intervene supernaturally in their situations to relieve their pain. When I see this, I’m reminded that it’s too late to think about fire prevention after your house is burning down, or to start thinking about your health after your second heart attack. You still might be able to get help, but it would have been better for you if you had prepared before your bad day.

Same with the good life God has for all of us. The Word of God was never meant merely for hurried consultations. The Bible was written for study and contemplation, and it was compiled so we can know the Word of God as a whole. Becoming a student of God’s Word can give any of us knowledge of God’s personality and dealings with others so that we can gain depth, richness, and fullness to every dimension of our lives. It teaches us, so we can enjoy full, informed, and satisfying lives. And so that during difficult times, we can stay steady.

I have enjoyed pastoral ministry with significant effectiveness most of my adult life, and I’ve experienced the stabilizing power of God’s Word and Spirit during difficult times. But I can say that the greatest sermons usually come when I am not looking for sermons but simply studying the Word of God for the sake of its own vital truth. Then I can teach the Scriptures in a life-giving way that is both powerful and effective. People love it, and more importantly, God loves it!

Begin today reading the Word for yourself and letting the Scriptures instruct you in a way that builds your life into a tower of strength and integrity. If your local church has a good discussion based systematic study of God’s Word, attend and participate. Then apply those truths so that you can contribute to the health of your family and your church. This will enable you to draw stability from the institutions God has ordained for us—our families and our churches—and within those institutions have your needs met for survival, love and belonging, freedom, power, and fun.

By tedhaggardblog

Ted Haggard is the Sr. Pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs, CO and founding pastor of New Life Church and past president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is the husband of Gayle, and the father of Christy, Marcus, Jonathan, Alex and Elliott.

3 replies on “On Being Stable”

Not dead yet? Preach love and hope!

Ted’s right! If we only helped and encouraged our brothers and sisters with the teaching of God’s word instead of judging them by it, that by itself would make a huge difference.

Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Let God’s word speak for itself!

It’s easy as a Christian to show up to church and to pretend that everything is fine. It’s difficult to minister to people who are struggling with hidden sins in their lives. Many of us do not share our issues or our problems because we do not want to appear weak or get marginalized by others within the church.

We need to become totally loving and open to each other regardless of the types of sin that may exist in our lives. Share our burdens? Love one another? Sometimes these scriptures sound like a joke because we do not see them being lived out!

Here’s the truth! The world makes it very difficult to live a life as a Christian! Sin is acceptable among many people these last days! Weeding sin out of our lives can be difficult and can take time, even years to do. I refuse to give up on Jesus. Man may reject you and give up on you. Jesus on the other hand will not give up on you! There is always hope! Thank you Ted!

Ted, I am a fan of how you have gone on with your life in a positive manner. I enjoyed this blog post but it seems a little shallow in its interpretation of life. Please allow me to explain.

Your introductory paragraph sets up the article from a single perspective, the Christian scriptures and uses them to set up your two foundations, the family and the church. This introduces co-dependency on them for living a good and Godly life. Co-dependency, however is dysfunctional as you, I, and most people know. Second the co-dependency you set up is from your interpretation. Scripture understanding which has been handed down is external and should never be trusted. We are all different and hand me down interpretations of anything in Scripture disallows room for the Living Word to expand the truth within each of our life. This is a denial of the Living Word and a denial of a Living Universal God. It also makes co-dependency on the two institutions even more dysfunctional an unfulfilling.

When one expands their education and lessens their prejudice a different picture develops about the family that should raise serious concerns that lead to disappointing actions. The family is introduced in all religions and in most societies after the barbaric phase of the human life era (most Christians are too afraid of the word evolution). Mainly family’s meaning can be deduced into on word, human possession for personal gain. That gives me no personal foundation for being co-dependent on a family, Nor, should any of us have any desire to do so for we have now given away our individual creativity which is our creative image of God. Your five desires are personal (survival, love and belonging, freedom, power, and fun) and should be mixed with other individual family member’s desires. When we do not mix them and try to blend them we have no family, as most know, so we seek those desires in ways that hurts the family. That is the meaning of a sick family and family dysfunction. We love our family members because we love our self enough to actually forgive our self so we can love the other members of our family by accepting their differences.

When we read our Bibles to teach us what is wrong in our life, we are again dysfunctional. When we reach out to Jesus to forgive us we are again dysfunctional. We know what is wrong in our lives through our own spirit. Godly forgiveness can only exist and have power when we forgive our self first.

How can you say what you say about the Bible while leaving out its whole point of the Living Word in us? The Bible as we have it began its formation under a very corrupt Roman Emperor using the church to remain in charge. Then in 367 AD the church father Athanasius gave us the 66 books belonging to the canon. So now we have taken the word of Constantine and one church father and are using that as the foundation for a healthy life. That is dysfunctional. It leaves no room for the Living Word.

I am a very active fully employed 63 year old man who has spent the last 11 years with a wonderful woman who has taught me more about God and how not to be sick and dysfunctional because she never was raised with the dysfunction and prejudice of the Christian church’s interpretation of God and family. We both came from marriages where dysfunctional family and christian religion was forced down our throats and we were unhappy. And, you and I know what people do when those misinterpretations control our life and its enjoyment. We always seek out the wrong pathways.

Actually, by all observation and logical reasoning your article is pretend. Living a healthy and good life is letting the Living Word speak for itself. When that happens, we love our self enough to love others the same way. Like I said, I am a great admirer of your second chance and its positive outcome of which I am very happy. However, I do not believe you got there by doing what you said in this article. I could not get there by following the shallowness of doing the things you presented in your article. It is impossible for it is dysfunctional and denies the Universal Living God. You are still playing dysfunctional religion. Let the dysfunctional church be the church, you no longer need to be a part of it.

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