Family

Giving Glory to God at Home: A Call to Higher Standards

Justin Puckett

Over the holiday season, my wife began reading a book on the importance and power of building habits within the family. She read me a page that she thought would be particularly helpful for me, and it piqued my interest, so she began to read it out loud to me while cooking dinner or in the car during family drives. The general thrust of the book is we are all building habits, either good ones or bad ones. Overall, it was a helpful and insightful book, but as my wife read more to me, I began to observe some issues. Nothing heretical or necessarily hurtful to anyone, but I began to see a picture of normality in the modern Christian home being painted before me—a household of sin, disorder, disrespect, and confusion.

Before I go any further, I must put the obligatory disclaimer: my household is not perfect, nor ever will be. Just like you, I am raising a family in a fallen world, and to be transparent, most family woes are because of my own sin (more on that later). Back to the book.

Emotions: Good Guide, Poor Master

The author spoke from personal experience, which was good, but it became clear to me that his target audience was bent towards women. There was a heavy emphasis on feelings, emotions, personal experience, and “being seen,” and very little scripture, exegesis, or deep biblical truths. Again, I do not say that women do not care about those latter things mentioned, but the typical modus operandi of modern evangelicalism is to put more weight on feelings over facts. This points to a general waning of masculinity because men are typically less emotional and more analytical in their thinking. If you want to win women, you make an emotional argument. If you want to win men, make an analytical argument.

If we are to train our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), then we must set aside our emotions, and not merely do what “feels right”, but actually what IS right. I tell my children many times that part of being an adult, especially being a man, is doing what needs to be done, regardless of whether you feel like doing it. This is what is modeled by every godly man given in Scripture, including the God-man, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 6:4 is a key verse, because it tells us to discipline our children (Proverbs 13:24) and instruct them, but not in our ways, but the Lord’s (Proverbs 3:5-6), who is perfect truth (John 14:6).

Christ or Chaos

The second issue I began to see in this book was the constant acknowledgment that the situation in your house is likely utter chaos and that that is okay. In an attempt to let the reader know they are “seen,” and the author was being sympathetic and “real”, the word “messy” was used more than I care to mention. As children of the God of Order (1 Cor. 14:33), is this how our homes should be?

Order and dominion are intrinsic to our design. God placed man in the world and commanded him to have dominion, and multiply so that the dominion, order, and rule of God, would spread across the Earth through man (Genesis 1:28). In a spiritual way this was reestablished in the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20), but I believe the original mandate still stands. Just because Christ is risen doesn’t mean we allow life and the world to degenerate into utter chaos while idly sitting by. There is a reason we find a well-groomed yard beautiful, and one overgrown with tall weeds and vines, ugly.

If you will allow me some liberty with the analogy, God has placed us each in our own Garden, our homes, and commanded us to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over it. This means taking care of what God has gifted to us, including the house, yard, children, and spouse. When each Christian family begins to do this, each fulfilling their God-given roles and positions, beauty and order are brought into the world, and glory to God is given, which is our chief end.

Will we do this perfectly, all the time? No. Will we have seasons of disrepair? Yes. But should the exception become the rule? Is it ok to live in a constant state of disorder? Does chaos bring glory to God? No. Are there exceptions for widows, the elderly, sick and handicapped? Absolutely. However, that is where the call of the church comes in, to assist those who cannot, so that self-sacrificing love and serve bring greater glory to the Lord. That is not the intended audience of the book my wife was reading, nor this piece. It is the everyday, average Christian family in America.

Work as Unto the Lord

We are called to a higher standard, a godly standard, in all areas of life. As followers of the one true God who has the truth and everything that pertains to life and godliness, our children should be better trained, better educated, and better catechized than the world. The devil loves mediocrity because it produces nothing of real value, but excellence is our calling and produces abundant good (Col. 3:23, Phil. 4:8-9, Prov. 22:29, Eccl. 9:10, Daniel 6:3, 2 Peter 1:5, Ruth 2:1,3:11).

I am not endeavoring to make an emotional argument, because I am first and foremost writing to men. The Lord has placed you in charge of your household, and you will be the first one held accountable for the way you came to your destination, and what was done along the way.

The Lord first came for Adam after the fall, not Eve or the serpent. An inventory check of yourself and your household needs to be made. Is your household in disarray because of your own personal sin? Is your household an external representation of the state of your soul? If so, repent, flee to Christ, obey His Word, and get to work. Have dominion over your home, but not as a 20th-century dictator, lording it over them as men can be inclined to do, but as Christ rules over the Church with sacrificial love and humble servitude.

An Aroma of Life

Our Christian life is to have an aroma, a pleasing and beautiful fragrance of Christ. Does yours? (2 Cor. 2:14-15) Is your life and household in such a way that the world is attracted to it like the bee to the flower? Does your house have the pleasing aroma of the Bread of Life? Is it salty and flavorful, as beautiful to behold as it is to eat? This is our goal. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Work for the Lord in joy and excellence, and shape your home in the beauty of love and peace.

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