I would say, for one, it's so important for you to understand who is your God, who is this Father, who longs to father you, and spend time in the scriptures getting to know Him. You know, He is the one from whom all fatherhood, all the families derive their name, it says in Ephesians 3. And that actually, that scripture was transforming for me because I realized, well, wait, fatherhood, it doesn't start with man, it actually begins with God. Like, He's the one who defines fatherhood because He's the first Father. And so I think spending more time and seeing, okay, when He says, I'll never leave you nor forsake you, when He says His promises to you, this is different.
It's not the same as the broken promises you may have received from your earthly father. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.
And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. There's nothing better than highlights. Like a football reel with highlights, you know, you get to see the best plays of the year, the best plays of the season, don't you agree? Yes.
Yeah. So today is the best moments of the last year of Family Life Today. You just thought I wanted to talk about football. No, I want to talk about the best of the best. And we've got David and Meg Robins in the studio with us. They're going to reminisce. We love being with you guys.
We're glad to be on your team, talking team. And I know you love— I mean, Jesus. You would love to look at some Ole Miss football.
I may peruse highlights. Today I have, I have. Have you really? Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, of course you have. Well, today's theme is what? Jesus is the good life.
Ooh, I like this theme. And, you know, in the last year we talked a lot about, you know, Jesus is life. I mean, He's everything. And one of our favorite guests was Dane Ortlund.
I love having Dane in the studio with us. If you haven't read his book Gentle and Lowly, you should get that. Read it, give it out for Christmas this year to some friends. Definitely. That was my favorite book of the year. Was it? Was it really?
Yes. It was the Christian book of the year. While we were eating lunch with him all together, I remember asking him, did you know when you were writing it, like there's something to this book?
And he was like, no, felt normal. And just, it's amazing how the Spirit of God comes along sometimes and just anoints something. And this really is an anointed topic and book he's written. Yeah, I remember he said, when you asked, I remember you asked him that and he said, yeah, my books don't sell.
And then this one just boom. And, you know, as I read it and I've read it a couple of times, it gets at some truths about Jesus that are revolutionary, that open your mind to, this is who he is. And here's one of the things he had to say about that. Christ himself in the one place where he tells us what his heart is when he is setting the terms. This is not one of the apostles talking about him.
This is not one of the letters in the New Testament. He says the most astonishing thing. He doesn't say I'm joyful and exalted in heart or any 100 other true things.
Yeah. He says, I am way down low and extremely accessible. I'm gentle and lowly in heart. That's the Savior we can enjoy being disciples to.
I don't even think we know what that means. Yeah, that's the next question is explain gentle and lowly. Well, he said he's gentle in heart. What he's saying, guys, is he is the most tender and non-manipulative, non-abrasive, approachable person in the universe. The high and holy Christ, the resurrected Christ, the one who in Revelation 1, the apostle John sees and falls down as if dead. The one who the impenitent in Revelation 6 want the mountains to fall on them so they don't have to face his wrath. That Christ most deeply, by his own testimony, is gentle. And he says he's lowly.
This is almost more wonderful. You don't have to go through security to get to him. You don't have to take a ticket and get in line. He's not going to put you on hold. You don't have to raise your voice.
That divine and holy, eternally existing Son of God is way down low next to me in my worst, not waiting for me to get my act together, and then he'll open the door to me. This is so profound and wonderful, guys, because we deeply resist this. We do not believe this. We hold it at arm's length. We stiff arm this reflexively. So the three of us and our listeners are taking a lifetime to unlearn the bad theology that Jesus is not gentle and lowly in heart. Yeah, and why do we resist it? Because you're so right. It's like, that isn't who I've always believed Jesus to be.
And I'm not saying my beliefs are right. They're actually inaccurate, but we've carried that our whole lives. And in some ways, we even resist hearing this. We do. I do. Yeah.
I do. I'm going to roll out of bed tomorrow morning, and I will not believe that. I mean, I'll believe it on paper. But the Christ that I believe I'm approaching when I roll out of bed in the morning is not gentle and lowly in heart.
He is looking at his watch, tapping his foot, loves me and likes me. But, Dane, doofus, come on, dude, how long is it going to take? You're 42. You're a pastor. Why are you so weird, selfish and proud and sinful? I don't know why we resist it, Dave, to answer your question, except that we are sinners. And I believe that what we do without realizing it is we project Christ. We think the Christ who is there is a bigger, better, smiley version of us. We are not gentle and lowly in our deepest heart.
The heart is your motivation headquarters, is what pours out of you. We're not that way. So, we think that Jesus is just a better version of us. And the scripture is defying us at that point, correcting us. A phrase that I've only heard Dane say that'll never leave my mind is, Jesus is not a more gentler, kinder version of us. I think it hits so strong because I think I've done that.
We've done that. It's like, oh, he's like me, but a little better. Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness, so far from the truth. All I know is when I listen to Dane or when I read any of his books, I want to be with that Jesus. I think a lot of times our eyes and our view of Jesus can be distorted based on other people or other things that have happened to us, but this Jesus, I want to follow.
Yeah. In his book, there's an analogy that he uses of taking Jesus's hand and going deeper and deeper in the ocean. And a lot of times our skewed view of him means that when the next wave comes, we get knocked over and sometimes we'll just want to get back to safety on shore. But Jesus is right there going, nope, let's go deeper. My grace is even deeper. My truth is even deeper.
Come experience more of me. And Jesus keeps taking us into the depths if we're willing to keep holding his hand because he is so secure. He is right there. He is not going to fall down. He can weather the waves that keep coming at us so well and take us to the places we really want to go. But our view sometimes is, well, his strength is just like mine.
No, his strength is so much more supernatural than we could ever imagine. Yeah, I think it takes some soul searching and real gut level honesty to think about what do I really think about Jesus? And I think listening to Dane and reading the book really challenged me to think about what do I really believe about him? And am I following who he really is?
Am I letting him be who he really is in my life? The gentle and lowly description, but also just that tenderness that he's pursuing me with this all-encompassing love that I can't even imagine, really. Yeah, it also makes me want to be in the Word to study him more, to study his life more, to discover more of these beautiful truths about who he is.
I think I may be wrong. You guys can tell me if I'm exaggerating, but I've said before that I think every decision we make every single day is based on two beliefs. What do I believe about God? What do I believe about myself? Theology, identity. And, you know, Dane's getting at what is, Maggie just said it, how do I really view Jesus? If he's a distant God, every day I'm trying to prove my worth.
Somebody see me, accept me. If he's a loving, gentle, present father and I'm his beloved child, that's my identity, I'm secure. It changes everything. That's why what he wrote is so critical for us to understand. It's like when we see him as he is, we live differently every single minute of every single day, I think. Am I exaggerating?
No, it's good for sure. I mean, we long to be fully known and fully loved, and that is who Jesus is. And if we believe that, it does change everything. Yeah, we also had Blair Lynn on. She's a spoken word artist, actress, Bible teacher.
And, you know, she sort of talked about the same thing in a different sort of avenue. It's like, okay, how does God, how does Jesus fill the gaps of what we've missed from our parents? I would say I think that the Lord does heal us. Of course, we're being sanctified.
It's a process. I would say, for one, it's so important for you to understand who is your God, who is this father who longs to father you and spend time in the scriptures getting to know him. You know, he is the one from whom all fatherhood, all the families derive their name, it says in Ephesians 3. And that actually, that scripture was transforming for me because I realized, well, wait, fatherhood, it doesn't start with man. It actually begins with God. Like he's the one who defines fatherhood because he's the first father. And so I think spending more time and seeing, okay, when he says, I'll never leave you nor forsake you, when he says his promises to you, this is different. It's not the same as the broken promises you may have received from your earthly father.
So I think starting there is important. I think also seeing, Lord willing, that the church would be a refuge to the fatherless. I see so many scriptures where God tells us to have a heart for the fatherless. Sometimes we think of the fatherless as the orphan, but it's like the person who doesn't have their father. There are many even single parents or children who are being raised by single parents who are right in your pew. And maybe you have had a wonderful father who's talked to you about many different things. Maybe you can pour into that person who's right there in your pew.
Or if you are the fatherless child, seek out those who, godly men who are around you or those you see being fathered like we did and like we're doing. You know, to say we don't have this all figured out. You know, it's not like, okay.
You know, it's not the prosperity gospel in the sense of like, once you come to Christ, your whole life is going to be, you know, vroom, vroom, vroom, you know, everything's going to be great. It's like, no, we're working, we're growing in our sanctification. We're becoming more like our father as days go on. And then also knowing like forgiveness, it's a process. It takes time. Sometimes we have to forgive over and over again, especially if our parents are still near to us, those wounds can be opened again and again. And so sometimes even when we think about forgiveness, we think it's this one and done and no, you know, you need to forgive again at times.
Yeah, I think those are a few things that I think of that might be helpful. You know, as I hear Blair share that, I can quickly go to the things that I've processed with my parents, but I'm entering this stage of teenagers where I'm going, oh my goodness, I know I'm having an effect on my kids in a way where, you know, we've frequently joke like, hey buddy, you're going to, counseling will be on us. You know, we know that things are happening as, and as good as parents were trying to be and seeking to honor the Lord in everything we do. I am so grateful knowing that I am an imperfect father, that my kids have a perfect father that they can run to and be fully sufficient. Yeah, I think it's really easy to internalize this and think of all the things that I, the mistakes I've made, the things I've said, I wish I hadn't said to our kids or the wounds. I mean, we're broken people, raising broken people. You know, that's the reality of parenting. But knowing that God is so much bigger than us and what the story that our kids have, they have a father who loves them more than we do, which is hard to sometimes get my head around, but I think the older our kids got, the more grace I gave my parents, you know, before I was parenting like, man, they messed up in this and they didn't do this. And now I'm thinking, hey, they were pretty great because you realize as your kids get older, like I cannot meet all your needs. And I was never supposed to meet all your needs.
Now I'm going to confess and I'm going to repent and I'm going to apologize. But I'm so grateful, as you said, Meg, that we have a loving father that fills in those gaps. I feel like some of my hardest, toughest moments have been in recent years with adult sons coming to me and saying, here's where you hurt me or let me down.
Oh, it's awful. It's so hard. I mean, we're sitting on a couch looking at my son and saying, I'm so sorry because he's right.
I did. I just, you know, and I was trying to do the best. But like you said, Meg, we're broken people and my brokenness hurt him deeply. And he's now a man saying, and he said, I forgive you, but you could see the hurt. And as he left and as I crawled in bed later, my only comfort was what we just what Blair said is God, even in that, has got him. And I can trust. I wish I could do it over. I can't, but God is going to hold my son and my sons for the rest of their lives.
We can trust that. Now, as you were sharing, I just thinking about a mentor once told me, you know, it's not if you sin, but how quickly do you repent? And I just think even you modeling, OK, holding that with your sons and the pain and, you know, going and asking for forgiveness, you know, at family life, we want to help effectively develop godly families and godly homes. We often say our homes that are frequently repenting, continuously surrendering and reflecting Jesus to the homes around them. And as we seek to build into godly homes who can therefore go and impact generations within their own four walls and the kids that they have both the dignity and depravity and pointing them to the father who will be their perfect father and to the homes around them, the impact and the ripples that a godly home can have in neighborhoods and communities. I just want to thank those of you who partner with family life financially to help us build up more godly homes, godly homes that will go have an impact far bigger than family life today, but have a life on life impact to their own homes and to the homes around them. When you give to family life, you give to legacies being established and rippling through generations and through neighborhoods and through communities and through cities and through churches. We're so grateful for you joining with us. And if you'd like to give to family life, this is an incredible time to do so because we have a matching gift that's going on because of a few generous partners.
And when you give today, your gift is matched dollar for dollar. And I'd love to invite you to give to more godly legacies being established. You know, when you say that, David, I think so often so many of us think the good life is money, it's possessions, you know, and those are wonderful things.
But what you're just talking about is like, no, we realize the good life is Jesus. And we got to talk about that several times this past year. One of our I love this guy, John Elmore, who's at Watermark Church in Dallas, and he leads recovery and pastoral care there. I did not know John very well. I read his book, and then he came in and man, oh, man, he impacted all of us so much. It was powerful.
I'll never forget some of the stories he shared, because they are stories that say the good life is one word is Jesus. I met a girl at a party. We got married soon thereafter. It was just infatuation. You know, we're having sex, it was euphoria. Two years into that marriage, she began having an affair with one of my friends and go figure that someone would have an affair.
I'm in a train wreck of an alcoholic husband, you know, bringing weed pills into the relationship, even brought porn into the relationship. And I loaded my shotgun. I called my buddy probably 100 times in a row, hunting him.
I'll kill you, and then I'll kill myself. I thought my life was over. I thought I had squandered. I was so far gone.
So far gone. But I knew from my childhood this phrase, Jesus saves. And so I got on my knees beside the couch that I was living on. And I said, I've squandered everything you have given me. But whatever I've left, it's yours.
And God is like, give me it. Give me your divorce. Give me your alcoholism. Give me the sexual abuse you experienced as a little kid.
Give me it all. And I knew soon thereafter, I was going to spend the rest of my life telling everyone that Jesus is real. You are never too far gone, and He can change everything. I love it when someone has experienced the transformation of Jesus and can't contain it. And I remember that day, y'all burst out of the studio, and there was this buzzing of just someone who had to express, like can't help but express the things that Jesus has done for him. The things that Jesus has done for him and the way that he is living out of that.
And I hear John and I go, okay, for some of you listening to him right now, you're in a similar situation to him. And you need to have that surrender moment and know he is the good life. Jesus is the good life and surrender it all.
For some of you, I'm hearing him afresh today going, okay, where's their callousness? I may not have a pending divorce or an addiction right now, but where's there a callousness that I need to go, okay, God, in a fresh way, I want that vitality of who you are when you take over our lives and we get to experience your grace and mercy right now, present tense, break open my numbness that I can grow so frequently in because I'm inoculated with a bunch of Christian stuff. God, break through it and give me the authentic Jesus through the cultural cloud I so often kind of wade through. David, I feel exactly what you're feeling. When I was with John, it felt like a holy moment where we all need to be on our knees and we need to re-surrender or we need to give him everything. And I remember John talking about like every morning he gets on his knees and he surrenders everything and that has impacted me.
But I think you're right. We can hear this like, oh, that's a good podcast. Oh, that's a good radio program and not move or work on it or in the moment give Jesus everything. So I like your challenge of asking one another like, where are we?
How are we doing spiritually? I think it's a good thing to take a look deep inside. Yeah, even as I hear you say that, Anne, I go, okay, it's one thing to have that reflection now. It's another thing to go call a close friend or your spouse or someone you trust and go, hey, I'm prompted and I don't know what to do with it, but I want you to circle back.
Maybe right now you should send a text and all of us could send a text to someone going, okay, I'm prompted to re-surrender and this is the area I want you to circle back with me on this. Yeah, I know that even listening to that clip again, I remember, again, we all just felt it. It's like a zeal, a passion, a fire that is so easy to have initially and then it just sort of like marriage.
You have it at the beginning, it just goes away and you lose that first love and hearing him say that again, it ignites something in us. Yeah, I've shared this before, but when I got on my knees and surrendered, I feel like it was as if in heaven Jesus was like, okay, if you're all in, I've got a life for you you never saw coming. And John's living that life. I think we're all living that life. It's like Jesus is like, I can't do it until you give me everything.
And the second you do, it's like, here we go. And I'm not saying there's not hard times. I'm not saying there's not valleys because we go through valleys, but there is a life that is the good life. And it's so different than what the world will tell you.
It is Jesus. And that's what John reminded us of this. This whole day has been that reminder. And I just know this, there's someone listening and you're going, I want that. I want that life.
Guess what? You can do what John did. You can do what David and Megan and Anne and I have all done. At some moment in our life, we have surrendered all and it's sort of daily, but God meets you in that moment and says, okay, I love you and I've got something for you. And I'm going to not just meet you here. I'm going to use you to meet others.
And I just want to say this, if it's hit you, today's your day. Surrender. And here's the other thing, share this program with other people because God is going to meet them in the same way. And one of the ways you can even help us do that is become a financial partner with us.
This is how this ministry flourishes. People like you give. There's thousands beside you that have given to make programs like you just heard available to people all around the world.
This is year end. We have needs financially. We'd love you to be a partner. If you give today, it'll be matched dollar for dollar.
Your gift will be doubled. And so, man, jump in. You want to see people's life change? You can be a part of that. We'd love you to be a part of that. Jump in today and let's go change the world.
Or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329. That's 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Tomorrow on Family Life Today, Dave and Anne are back in the studio once again with David and Meg Robbins. They'll be listening back and reflecting over clips from the last year that show us that through everything, picking Jesus above everything is the answer to a good, good life. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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