A New Commonplace - Benjamin and Kirsten Watson

This is the first year that we have read through the Bible in a year, together. In the past, we’d kind of do our own version of reading through the Bible on our own, and once in a while we’d talk about it. But now, we’re able to walk through the same passages at the same time, and when we come together after we’ve read, we find ourselves having really interesting conversations and questions about the text.

In previous years, we both may start off a year with the intention of reading through the Bible consistently, but once the NFL offseason hits in March, things go a little haywire. Then right before training camp begins, we think, “All right, we’ve got to be more intentional since we’ll be apart.” As we began this year, it’s been helpful to study the same thing because we can urge each other on and have our “aha” moments to discuss. This time around, it’s not as though we are trudging through because we feel like we need to. This time, it’s more as if we are feeding off this. It’s very different than ever before. Reading the entire Book, seeing how all the stories and truths are knit together, is very refreshing. Having a partner go through it with you keeps you going.

Recently we were struck by a certain passage in Exodus. In Exodus 34, you see the relationship Moses had with the Almighty God. He was so close to God. As Moses went into the tent and the cloud came upon it, the rest of the camp knew Moses was talking to God. They could visibly see God’s power descend. Talk about a combination of being both jealous and frightened! Moses then actually asked God if he could see His face. He wanted more of God. God replied by saying that He wouldn’t allow Moses to see His face (it would be too much for Moses to handle), but He would hide him behind a rock so he could get a glimpse of His back. 

This idea of protection and the relationship of intimacy that Moses had with God, it’s beautiful. It’s almost as if this is such an intimate moment that we’re not supposed to be reading. But we see here that after Moses came from the tent, after having spoken with God and seen a glimpse of the Almighty, he was changed. His face was different. That stuck with us, because that’s how I want to look after being in the presence of God. It just goes to show that you can’t be in His presence and be the same. You will be different. When you are really and intimately communing with God, it shows.

If you go back just one chapter to Exodus 33, you see another unforgettable moment between Moses and God. As Moses is talking with God, he says, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16). 

Now that we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, the radiance of God exudes out of us because we have God’s presence within us at all times. That’s what sets us apart from the rest of the world. Otherwise, we will look like everyone else. 

But here, Moses is saying he doesn’t want to go anywhere without God’s presence vividly aware to all. For our family, which has moved time and time again during our years in the NFL, and now is moving once again, we want to make sure it’s God’s desire for us to move before we go anywhere. We don’t go unless He says, “Go!” We operate within His present desire for us. When we do, that will distinguish us from the rest of the world. 

One of the greatest outcomes from us prioritizing our daily time in the Word is that our seven kids are seeing it firsthand. With all of us at home these days, our kids are seeing and hearing us talk about God and His Word, reading the Bible, and praying more than ever before. Along with their own Bible memory verses, school lessons, and virtual church at home, pursuing God personally is rubbing off on everyone in the house. It changes the atmosphere. 

Instead of engaging in our personal quiet times with God when the kids are in bed or somewhere else, we intentionally get our Bibles out when the kids are around. The daily observation of seeing Mom and Dad reading is important. Those images are going to be imprinted on their minds forever. We can still remember going into our parents’ room as children and seeing them each reading their Bibles. We aren’t just reading the Bible for our kids’ benefit alone, but part of parenting is revealing to your kids the things you do in private. If you’re only reading the Bible and praying behind closed doors and telling your kids about it, they aren’t seeing it. If you intentionally open up and make it real to them, you normalize it.

We always want closeness to God to be commonplace in our household, but with the chaos and busyness of life, you can find yourself so busy, going so many places, that it’s hard to create any atmosphere. Now, it’s just happening naturally.

— Benjamin and Kirsten Watson, former NFL couple

Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Benjamin’s Increase profile here

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