The first Truth comes from Exodus 20: 2 “You shall have no other gods before Me” which is the first commandment.
And Matt. 22: 37 is the greatest commandment, “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
These verses remind me to weigh a should by if it causes me to love the Lord more or wants to be an idol in my life.
Early in our marriage I was convinced we should eat healthier. My first action was to buy wheat bread. Soon I read that I should make my own wheat bread. Later, I heard I should grind my own wheat berries for my homemade wheat bread. On top of this, I knew we should eat vegetables at meals, but then the experts said we should fill half our plate with vegetables. Cooked vegetables weren’t enough though, I should have at least half those vegetables be raw. If I really wanted the value of fresh vegetables I should grow my own vegetables. ENOUGH!
Eating healthy wanted to become an idol in my life. In order to do it all, I needed to dedicate my time and energy to this goal. Food was the focus of my thoughts, not the Lord. This “should” did not help me love the Lord more, it stole His time and place by trying to become an idol.
The second Truth God uses to help me weigh the shoulds that cross my path is:
Col. 3: 18 “Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Did you know we are told six times in the NT to submit to our husbands?
Eph. 5: 33b “the wife must respect her husband.”
The question that helps me to apply these verses when a should comes up is: Does my husband even want me to do that should? Our husbands can often see what is too much for us. Their outside view helps them see more clearly than we can. Plus our husbands tend to not be as led by their emotions, so they are often more rational.
Just the other day, a friend called to see if I was going to drop off
her son’s coat that I had picked up at church for her. I told her I would be going out later and would try to drop it off then. When I got off the phone my daughter said, “Don’t you think Jesus would take the coat over to their house now?” I tried to explain to her
that if they needed it, they could pick it up sooner, after all, they had left it in the first place. As I explained this to her I started to feel wishy washy; perhaps Jesus would drop everything and take the coat. If nothing else, going now would be a good example to my daughter. Thankfully, my husband walked in the door just then. I quickly told him what was going on and without hesitation he declared, “If they need it sooner they can come get it, you keep doing what you’re doing and if it works to take it later, fine.”
My husband quickly took that should off my plate.
Lastly, the Lord has given me two verses regarding parenting to help me discern the shoulds I come across.
Proverbs 22: 6a “Train a child in the way he should go.” It is for our training not our entertaining that we will one day give an
Eph. 6: 4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Do not exasperate INSTEAD train and instruct.
When our children were small email was new. I would often steal away and check if I had mail. If there was a note from a friend I would sit down, read it and then feel the need to quickly respond with an equal length note. Often as I sat writing my friends I would shoo my little ones away. Sometimes they would even cry as I continued to connect via email. Then these verses came
to mind and I realized email was getting in the way of my training our children and causing me to exasperate them. Email had to go. Now, I don’t remember for how long I didn’t email, but it was long enough to break the bond it had on me.
Tomorrow I will finish up with four things we can do now that help in identifying the shoulds in our lives.