And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV).
How can you teach a language you cannot speak?
If you have ever been to a foreign country, you are likely to have experienced the cultural shock that hits you as soon as you get off the plane.
The temperature is likely to be different, the people look different, they speak differently, the very air in the atmosphere is different and all of a sudden the realisation really hits you. You are far away from home.
At first you may be thrilled by all the new experiences, or maybe not. Whatever be the case, you may begin to feel homesick after a while and if you don’t do anything about your situation, the longer you stay in this foreign place, the more you begin to adapt and become acustomed to the way of life in this foreign land. You begin to speak like them, dress like them, eat their food, and acquire a dual identity.
There are people who are very proud of where they originally come from and will seek various ways to stop themselves from being changed by any new environment. There are some Africans who are African through and through and some people of Asian decsent who are very in sync with their culture. No matter what you do, they never shift from it. They remain true to it even in the midst of a very foreign culture.
What they do is this;They find others similar to themselves, they socialise using their home language and home culture and general way of life so much so that they change their environment to look just like their original home country.
I know of some immigrants in the UK where I live, who have lived in the UK for more than 20 years and still cannot speak English, they dress in their cultural attire and socialise mostly with their kind. They do this consciously so as to preserve their way of life and culture in a foreign land.
If you are a Christian, your citizenship is not of this world. Though you live here, your home country, where your father lives, has its culture, it’s way of life, it’s values, its authority and if you truly know him and know the way of life, you will be home sick all the time. But we are here on a mission and that is what we concentrate on.
The Lord Jesus knew the importance of ensuring that his followers never forget that this world is not their home and that their identity and citizenship of heaven should be preserved while they were still in the world. He made sure that he gave and taught them the word of God, he taught them the name of God, their identity in God and the authority to walk in that identity. He gave them what was needed to sustain them and keep them from conforming to the standards of the world. He therefore prayed for them before his death and said the following;
‘I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world’. (John 17:6, 8, 9, 11, 14-18 KJV).
So clearly, he gave them the name of their father – prove of their legitimacy; he gave them the words of the father( the language, the culture, the confessions); he prayed that they will be one – a community, united, socialising with and strengthening each other; and he prayed that they might be protected from the evil one – the systems, the powers, the authorities that will seek to annihilate them, to scatter them; he also prayed that they will be sanctified ( rebuilt, repaired, maintained ) by the truth. The truth of who they are and what their inheritance is and the truth about the way.
This prayer was not for only his disciples then, but for all of us who will come after them, who will believe, accept and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. There is a way of life that is required to enable us maintain our identity, our authority, our citizenship and way of life. If you are a Christian and you make no effort to separate yourself from the world’s ideologies and customs, to live out your christian culture and life, you will find that your Iidentity will soon be diluted or changed by the world. You will no longer be proud of who you are, what you stand for and the community of faith you belong to. You will gradually become conscious that you do not fit into the very world you are trying so hard to fit into and will start to blend in anyway thereby loosing the vibrancy and intensity of your believe in God. It is a slippery slope down to the land of the lost after that. You will stop speaking the words of God and start siding with the wisdom of ths world and soon you will be too embarrassed to be called a christian or to associate in anyway with Christ.
The funny thing is when this is happening, you are deceived to begin to think that you are evolving into a better Christian, a more modern,sophisticated, intellectual, tolerant kind of Christian. You might even begin to think that that is what God wants.
The only way to ensure that you never loose your way is to never stop speaking your native language, never stop eating the food, dressing in the described cultural attire. You need to do it until it is so entrenched and associated with you that no one even bothers to try to change you anymore. God’s language is his word. So he says we should speak it, and teach it to our children, in our houses, when we wake up, when we go out, when we lie down, we should not stop speaking it. the prove that you know it is in speaking it out and living it out. It should be part and parcel of us without any apologies.
Our children should live on on the undiluted word of God until it is totally part of them. By so doing we preserve not only our generation but future generations for God.
I am sometimes so disappointed when I read about the great works of early missionaries and revivalists, awesome work indeed. They took the gospel to the world with signs and wonders following. We look at their descendants and all you think about is; what happened? Along the line they stopped speaking the language, the vibrancy and intensity of the Christian culture and heritage got lost. Their sons and daughters are now quick to cling to secularism as the best way. Those that are still christians are too timid and afraid to speak up. This s so sad. Dont think it cannot happen to you or to your descendants.
‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him’. (1 John 2:15 KJV)
More importantly, what you see and interact with everyday, has a way of entering into your psyche so much so that it create an identity in you which you begin to accept as you.
‘For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world’. (1 John 2:16 KJV)
‘And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away’. (1 Corinthians 7:31 KJV)
‘For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness’. (1 Corinthians 3:19 KJV)
‘There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me'(1 Corinthians 14:10, 11 KJV)
Ensure that God’s voice does not become foreign to you. Hear his words, speak his words, live his words, teach his word to your children and their children after them. Lets preserve a generation for the kingdom of God.
Speak God’s language always. It’s the only way to preserve your Christian identity.