Heidi: Welcome everyone to He Restores My Soul. Heidi Howerton is here with my amazing friend and mentor and wise woman.
Jani: Oh, Heidi, we better start this one over again. That’s too much of a build up.
Heidi: They don’t know even who you are yet.
Jani: This is Jani Ortlund but don’t believe everything she says. No, believe what I say…wait. Don’t believe everything Heidi says about Jani. Oh boy, this is gonna be a wild podcast, isn’t it?
Heidi: Yes, it’s good to be with you guys.
Fall Is Coming!
Heidi: Jani, I was thinking a fun way to start this one off, we are almost to October and I love October as the weather starts to change and the leaves get crispy and you walk and crunch. What do you love to do in the fall, Jani? Do you have a favorite memory? Or do you have a favorite fall activity? What comes to your mind when you think about fall?
Jani: Well, in my younger years, I loved fall, but the last 16 or 17 years, I have become a hunter’s widow. I wonder if any of our listeners know what that is. Ray took up hunting, oh, about 18 years ago. And every fall, he just loves to hunt. It fills his heart. It fills his soul. He is counting down the days from mid summer until the first day of bow season. And he loves to hunt. So now as we approach fall, I’m trying to think of different things that I can do while Ray is out gathering meat for our family’s…
Heidi: Long winter days.
Jani: That’s right. And for anyone else who would like venison? Yeah, loves to bring venison to friends. How about you, Heidi? What do you enjoy about the fall?
Heidi: Fall is one of my favorite seasons. In fact, for October I love to make a fall bucket list to do with my kids. And things I put on the bucket list are step on crunchy leaves, have a bonfire, make s’mores, drink apple cider, we love to carve pumpkins. I just love fall inandthe cooler weather drinking a wonderful, like salted caramel drink or pumpkin spice drink from the coffee store.
Jani: Well, now I know where I’m going to spend those lonely hours. Oh, sounds so fun, Heidi! You’re a great mom.
Well, we’re talking about the 10th commandment. And this is our final episode on the commandments. And we rejoice that we’re here. We rejoice for all that God has done in our own hearts of as we’ve studied and talked these through. We pray for our listeners that God is doing work in your heart as well. That he would be showing you his loving law, not his, “You better do this or else” kind of law but his love letter to us. This is how life really works best. Let me share with you and then enjoy life to the fullest as we live it together. So last podcast, we talked about the positive of the 10th commandment being contentment. And we want to finish up today. What a happy place to end the 10 commandments with this idea of contentment, being the opposite of coveting. And how we can give that concept to our kids. How can we teach our kids to be content or at least help them to be?
What Does Contentment Mean?
What does contentment mean? It certainly does not mean folding your hands and acquiescing to difficult situations that truly need to be improved. But there is a sense in which by God’s grace, you can be content in a situation while not being content with it. Let me help you see what I’m saying. For instance, I can learn to be content in my job, while not being content with it. Contentment does not mean that I will never change jobs or it’s wrong to change jobs. But it does mean I will cast my cares on him, choosing to trust his goodness and letting his peace rule in my heart as I pray and seek his will about the best place for me to work. So I can learn to be content in my job while not being content with it.
Or how about in our homes, I believe like I can learn to be content in my home while not being content with it. It’s not wrong to redecorate or improve my home. In fact, Heidi and I were just sharing a need that she has in her home. And I think that that’s wonderful. But it does mean that I will not let this need that I have or desire I have about my home become the focus of my heart and my budget until my house is picture perfect.
Or how about this, I can learn to be content in my marriage while not being content with it. I always want to go deeper with my Ray. Loving and supporting him more today than I did yesterday. I never want to feel like, “Oh, we’ve got it made. Now I can relax totally.” I always want to go deeper with him. Or for me personally I can learn to be content. In my physical limitations right now, while not being content with them, as I strive and work hard to exercise properly and do everything I can to be as strong as I can be throughout my 70s. You see, contentment is a learned heart setting. I can’t just decide one day that I won’t covet anymore. “Lord, I’m going to keep this commandment perfectly. I’m never going to cover it again.” We can’t!
Heidi: If only it were that easy.
Jani: Yes. Oh, God made our hearts organs of deep desire, and our hearts demand to be filled with something. Our hearts cannot remain empty, blank, desireless. The cure for covetousness is to learn to covet the right things. This commandment does not just say you shall not covet. If you were to take the time and turn to Exodus 20:17, you’ll see that it says, Don’t covet your neighbor’s possessions and prizes. In a lot more words than that one sentence. God is telling me that whatever I have is what I need right then. And whatever I don’t have, I must not need right now. I don’t really need more things, better health or a new job as much as I need more of God. We need to be women who learned to covet the right things and insatiable appetite for Christ, his grace, his mercy, his nearness. We need to fill our hearts with the goodness of God. Romans 8:32 says,
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things.”Romans 8:32
Heidi: And Psalm 84:11 says,
“No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”Psalm 84:11
Jani: Hmm, no good thing. That’s good for me to think about. The 10th commandment entices us back to where we started in the first commandment with God Himself as our first priority and deepest delight. I love how it circles back. The first all the way down to the 10th and we go back up towards the first. God wants our hearts to be filled with himself. Psalm 37:4 says,
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”Psalm 37:4
Helping Our Kids to Covet the Things of Eternity
Oh, that delight in the Lord is such a rare quality. Part of that delight is contentment. And I think that’s really hard for our children. It was for me as a child and it was hard for my children. As they were growing up, how can we help our kids foster hearts that covet the things of eternity, rather than the things of this world? Well, I have a couple ideas Heidi and I are going to share with you and maybe you can add to this list.
1. Ask God to Help You Set a Good Example
First of all, ask God to help you set a good example.
Heidi: That’s the first thing that came to mind, Jani, as you were talking through that, because I think, “Oh, how often do my children see me coveting things? Oh, I want this pool or this, this and this and this. And I think they’ve just learned it from me.”
Jani: Yes, yes.
Heidi: We need to set a good example for our children of what that looks like.
Jani: Yeah, because it doesn’t really work just to tell them, “Now, don’t be jealous over your sister or your neighbor or your friend. Don’t covet.” I mean, has that kind of verbal scolding ever helped my heart? Never. Only God can change my heart. I wonder if our children have ever seen us go happily without something we really wanted. In fact things that we thought we really needed as well. Let’s help our children see in us a godly coveting. A coveting for spiritual treasures that far surpass anything here on Earth. As you nurture a vital, fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ, you will covet him more and more. And godly contentment will be the fruit of your life. As you realize from Philippians 4:19,
“My god is supplying every one of my needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:19
Then, godly contentment will be the fruit of my life and my kids will hear me say and they’ll see me live out, “If I have Jesus, I truly have all that I need.”
2. Let Our Kids See Us Rejoice In Others’ Success
Also, I think another way we can help our kids with this is by letting them see us rejoice in the good fortune of others. Are we raising our kids in an atmosphere that exudes the contentment of real humility and deep joy in someone else’s success? Can you truly say with Christ, it is more blessed to give than to receive?
3. Tell Our Kids Stories Of Contentment
Another way I think we can help our kids understand this commandment and teach them contentment is by telling them stories of contentment from the Bible. Paul is a great place to start. Some night, turn to 2 Corinthians 11. And read verses 23 through 33 with your kids. Talk about all of Paul’s beatings and imprisonments and near-death experiences. Whoa, and then turn to this passage. Heidi, will you read Philippians 4:11-13?
“Not that I am speaking of being a need for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance. I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”Philippians 4:11-13
Jani: Again, we see that word “learned” there, don’t we? It’s a process. I’m so grateful to the Lord. It’s a process. Hmm. Do your children see that contentment is learned through drawing close to Christ rather than gaining worldly possessions? Is Christ the joy of your heart? Can you say with David, “There is nothing on earth I desire besides you”? You see, what you love, what you long after reveals who you love.
Now for your child to embrace this commandment, he will have to delight in Christ on his own, not just because you tell them to or want him to. So pray for the souls of your children. Ask God to turn their hearts to him in real heartfelt love and wonder. Don’t try to squelch their cravings. Their hearts were created to crave to yearn, to long, but as a parent, as a teacher, as a grandmother in wisdom and patience, let the children in your life experience the hollowness of the world’s offerings. Ask God to help your child at the root level of his sin, the motivational level, is he learning to hate his sin because he got caught, or because it offends his heavenly Father. Only God can pierce his heart with saving love. You might be able to change your child’s outward behavior, at least while he lives in your home. But only God can change his heart to want to follow Christ once he is on his own. When we lived in Augusta, Georgia, our side yard was rampant with briars.
Heidi: What are briars, Jani?
Jani: They are a vine that has a sharp, thorny edge to it, along it and they just overtake everything. They’re a terrible weed and they grow up and out and in and down and all around. One summer, I was so frustrated with them. I took to just cutting them all back just hacking them down. Well, how silly of me. You see I wanted a quick fix. I’m sure our listeners know what happened you would know Heidi, wouldn’t you? My impatience only made them grow more. I needed to get to their roots if I was ever to stop their speedy growth. And so it is with our sin, with our covetousness with our lack of content. You might be able to control your child’s outward behavior, but only God can change his heart. So pray, model, pray some more. Teach him stories from the Bible. Pray again, discipline him, pray some more. Surround him with other believers at a good church. Pray and then keep on praying. God answers prayer. Oh my.
A Symbol For Your Kids
Here’s something you can do to try to teach your kids about roots getting to the root of the issue which is to symbolize their heart. If you have a garden bed and it’s the right season, go out and try to find a couple of weeds there with one, dig up the whole root system, put it in a baggie and bring it in the house. With the other, lift up the leaves of the weed and just chop it off at the base, but leave the root system in the ground. After a couple , well I don’t know how long it would take maybe a week or two, bring your kids back outside and compare the one weed that’s in the baggie where it was taken out of the soil and the root had nowhere to gain any nutrients or water or anything and the weed that is still in the soil and show them how it has regrown because the root system was feeding on the wrong thing was, well, this root system was feeding on the right thing to grow, the other weed died because it had no food to feed on. You could do that with a sweet potato. If you can’t find some weed, you can just get a sweet potato, stick it in a glass and let it start growing. And once it grows, you can talk about the different root system, take it out of the water and see what happens.
You see, as long as the root survives, the plant can grow. That’s what you want to teach your child. If the root is not fed, the plant can’t grow. Help your child compare the human heart to the root. What is he feeding his heart? What can he expect to grow there? I think one final thing you could do with your children, as you’re talking through this 10th commandment ,is to read Philippians 4:11-13 and 2 Corinthians 11:23-33. Talk about contentment. Point out the verb “learned” from the Philippians passage, discuss how one learns contentment. Tell your child how God has helped you learn to be content, pray together, asking God to fill your hearts with himself. Give your child completely to God, asking him to use your child in whatever ways would best serve the purposes of God. It’s so good for your child to hear you pray that over him.
Now, why not have a little celebration since you’ve finished your study of the 10 commandments. Thank the Lord together for his loving law and how it beautifies our lives and relationships. See if you can say them together and then break out some ice cream.
Heidi: I was hoping you’d say ice cream, Jani!
Jani: What’s your favorite flavor?
Heidi: Oh, cookie dough. You?
Jani: Mint chocolate chip.
Heidi: From Baskin Robbins.
Jani: Yes. Oh my goodness. I think it’s about time we close and go get ourselves some ice cream. May the Lord restore your soul.