What should the activity inside our homes look like when those homes are situated in communities where the foster system is over loaded with kids, many who have been abandoned and abused by their very own parents? What should drive our daily schedule when a few steps from our door our helpless pre-born neighbors are being taken to the slaughter in “safe and legal” clinics? What should we be doing with our down time when the powers-that-be decide it is beneficial to the community to steal our neighbor’s property in the name of economic development or threaten his business with tyrannical regulations? How can family economies operate righteously when we live and work within a larger system completely infatuated with the abomination of unjust weights and measures (think unbacked currency and fractional reserve banking)? There are a million more hard questions like these.
To Whom Much is Given
In America we have a heritage of blessing passed down to us which we remain largely ungrateful for. We, in large part, have places to call home. We may desire more square footage, greater privacy, a nicer climate, quieter neighbors, or to own instead of rent; but most of us have roofs over our heads. Some of our brothers and sisters in the faith are inhabiting tents in Syrian refugee camps or are attempting to scrape out a living within the inhospitable environs of North Korea where their dwelling, at any moment, may become a work camp or prison cell. First-world Christians, what are we doing in the homes the Lord has given us?
Unlike what happens in Vegas, what happens in our homes doesn’t stay there. Our homes are not primarily hiding places which allow us to escape from involvement in, and responsibility for, the larger world. They are not a do-nothing environment where we may watch Netflix and wait for God to whisk us away to heaven. They are, instead, a home base for doing good works the Lord has prepared beforehand for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). God could have given you a tent in a refugee camp instead of the apartment, house, trailer, or yurt you currently occupy but He didn’t. Our homes are not a right, they are a gracious gift from God. When God brought the Israelite nation into the promised land, He gave them homes they didn’t build and vineyards they didn’t plant. They didn’t deserve such abundance, but the Lord graciously gave. Sadly, it didn’t take long for the people of Israel to presume on God’s grace and start swinging open their doors to idols. We will always serve something: if not God we will turn to another master, be it mammon or Moloch.
Building a Home Base
If we do not fill our homes with obedient living, service to idols will take up residence in its place. Psalm 127 tells us that, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Let’s not waste our time in vain labor when we may build with the Lord. He has given us places where we may plan and work and plant and grow—not our kingdom, but His.
What does a Kingdom-building home base look like? We get a window into this when God’s people are preparing to enter the land and are reminded:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.—Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Training is an important part of what goes on in Christian homes, but don’t make the mistake of subscribing to the classroom mentality. Home life isn’t a tedious workbook exercise or a ridiculous word problem. We aren’t living in an artificial lab environment while performing pseudo-useful tasks which we hope will prepare us for whatever lies on the other side of the classroom door. We are, right now, doing all things as unto the Lord, and hopefully in cooperation with other members of our household.
The Lord gives a command to His people that envelopes their entire existence from their waking to their sleeping, from their conversation to their actions, from their houses to the world outside: talk of His commands. He connects the teaching, training, and conversation which goes on at home with what goes on in the world outside. The same Word of God that was to be written on their hearts and talked of in their houses was also to be a mantle on their doorposts guiding the coming and going of those who lived within. Not only that, they were to bind this Word on their heads and hands to rule their every thought and action at home and abroad. Our God lays claim to all of it.
Talk & Do
Deuteronomy 6 often gets applied to Christian homeschooling, and sometimes all we see is a location recommendation for classwork. If we take off our homeschool goggles for a minute though we can see that this describes a way of life for all ages. The heart of this command is lost if we relegate it to merely micromanaging the location of our classwork. The primary focus isn’t abstract study, it is life application: talk about the commands of God while going about doing things. It doesn’t restrict this talk to our conversations with five to eighteen year olds, it is a way of life for God fearing people. We talk of His commands while we are doing stuff, because His Word has application to everything. We talk of His commands while we are doing stuff because sometimes it reminds us we are doing things we shouldn’t be doing and causes us to repent. We talk of His commands at all times so the next generation can learn in practice why we live the way we live and do the things we do, and are shown, not just told, how to find biblical answers to difficult questions like the ones I asked at the beginning.
Obedience & Answers
The home is a place where our daily task is to take the truths of God’s Word and do them. Everything we are reading in our Bibles (we are actually reading them I hope) and hearing preached on Sundays, doesn’t mean anything to us if it remains folded inside a genuine leather binding and entombed inside the four walls of a steeple-topped building. All the worldview training on earth will not bear fruit if we treat it like so many workbook pages to be completed—memorize some information and fill in the blanks. No, the fruit comes when the commands of God start filling out the blanks in our lives and the activity in our homes becomes an amen to the words of Joshua, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!”
This article was first published in the July 2016 issue of Every Thought Captive magazine. Subscribe Today!