I’m just going to be real with you today, and divulge something that has haunted me throughout the entire process of writing and publishing my first book. It’s this:
As I wrote this book about the importance of family discipleship, I neglected my own family.
You could call it funny, ironic, even hypocritical. However you look at it, it’s probably not the way things should have happened. I realize there is a season for everything, but I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit – and sometimes condemned by the Enemy – when I let things get out of hand. Sock and underwear drawers remained empty, homeschool wasn’t given the energy and time my son deserved, and I allowed myself to get wrapped up in the book-writing process to the point where at times it became an idol.
As I wrote the final chapter of the book, my words resonated back to me in a way that could only have been God:
Now that you have all of this information about how to feed your family spiritually, what’s next? There are all kinds of self-help books out there, many spiritual in nature and many even filled with scripture. But James 1:22-25 says:
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
~ James 1:22-25
If we are simply gatherers of information, thinking that the act of gathering will somehow impart a change, we are deceiving ourselves.
Why do we look in the mirror? Some of you may spend hours gazing into the splendor of your reflection, but most of us only look when absolutely necessary! We check our hair, we check for blemishes, we look for food in our teeth or on our faces. What would happen if you had just eaten a nice big spinach salad, then glanced in the mirror only to find that you had green between several of your teeth? You know you’ve been there! You’d swish, floss, whatever was necessary to get the green out ASAP, right? Now think for a moment about what would happen if you looked in the mirror, gathered the information that you had spinach in your teeth, and just turned around and went back to life as usual without fixing it? You’d look pretty ridiculous each time you smiled, unless you had some loving friends willing to signal it was time for some floss when nobody else was looking. So what was the point of looking in the mirror, if you weren’t prepared to take action?
God’s Word is a mirror. It allows us to test ourselves against God’s standards, not the world’s. It would certainly be more comfortable if we were satisfied with the world’s standards, oblivious to the need for change. But if we take the time to look into the mirror of God’s Word, our blemishes and imperfections will be revealed, not for the purpose of shaming or condemning us-
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
~ Romans 8:1
– but so that we can recognize what God wants from us (for our own good!) and turn around and do something about it. We may need to pick some spinach out of our teeth, or wipe some mud off of our cheek. Sometimes there are deep gashes, or blemishes that will take time and healing, but there is no wound too deep for Jehovah-rophe, the Almighty God who heals.1
I knew after writing this segment that I couldn’t just write about family discipleship, or even expound on what the Bible said. I couldn’t just read great books written by others – or even God’s Word – and think that it was worth the paper it was written on! Even Satan tried quoting scripture to Jesus as he tempted him in the wilderness. And believing what you read isn’t enough, either:
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
~ James 2:18-19 (NIV)
Ouch! Faith without action, or reading (or writing!) books without implementing life change – pointless. When I wrote my book, it didn’t come from expertise or mastery of family discipleship. I actually believe the Lord gave me this book first for my family, then for others. So I finished the last chapter of my book with a “40 Days of Feeding Your Family” challenge. It was first for me and my family, to help me put into practice the things God has been teaching me. I would love to invite you all to join me, if the area of spiritually feeding the children in your sphere of influence is an area you haven’t taken as much action as you’d like.
Visit my website, www.jaimehampton.com, for more information about my book, Malnourished: Equipping Parents to Battle Spiritual Poverty on the Home Front. Join my e-mail list to connect with me and others taking the “40 Days” challenge. I’ll be starting a Facebook group, and have been working on a companion Bible study to the book, so don’t miss out on updates!
Whether it’s family discipleship or some other area the Lord has been speaking to you about through books or his Word, join me in taking the biggest irony of writing my book and turning it into the biggest victory! Decide today to take action, and know that you are not alone. I would love to hear your prayer requests or specific areas you want to take action in the comments below.
Footnote: 1Jaime Hampton, Malnourished: Equipping Parents to Battle Spiritual Poverty on the Home Front, pp. 163-166.
Jaime is graciously offered to give one paperback copy of her new book to one of our readers. Would you like for it to be you? Enter below!
More about Jaime Hampton’s Book
Are you equipped for the battle?
There is an epidemic of spiritual poverty among today’s children. While some are starving to death, others are actually overfed yet malnourished, due to an abundance of ‘spiritual junk food’ in our western culture.
Using a solid Biblical foundation, Malnourished is a call to action, urging parents to take back their rightful place as the family’s primary provider of spiritual food. In this book, you will find:
- An abundance of scripture to arm you for battle
- A step-by-step plan for assessing, equipping, and discipling the children in your sphere of influence
- A list of supplemental books, websites and assessments
- The “40 Days of Feeding Your Family” challenge- an opportunity to put what you’ve learned into action
If you are tired of the status quo and ready to embark on a life-changing journey, put on your battle armor! You will come away from this book with a renewed passion to wage war on spiritual poverty, and will be blessed as you see God at work in you and in your family.
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About Jaime Hampton
Jaime Hampton lives in Southcentral Alaska with her husband and three children. She has a passion for studying the Bible, and has been involved with ministry to children and youth for the last twenty years. She enjoys camping with her family, roasting (and drinking!) coffee, and the crazy life that comes with being a hockey mom. You can also connect with Jaime at www.jaimehampton.com.