I once heard the story about a little boy who was inconsolably crying in the car after leaving worship services one Sunday. His father asked him three times what was wrong, and, finally, the boy replied, “The preacher said he wanted me to be brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you guys!”
Ideally, all homes would be Christian homes because Christian homes are homes that have surrendered to the will and the reign of God. In so doing, they assume some unique attributes, three of which will be mentioned in this article.
Christian homes provide a spiritual education.
Let us begin by noticing two passages in which Paul addresses Timothy’s spiritual education. The first is 2 Timothy 1:5 where Paul told Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” The second is 2 Timothy 3:14-15 where Paul instructed Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” From Paul’s words, we can infer that Timothy’s spiritual education was provided by his mother and grandmother since he indicated that Timothy’s faith was inherited from them. We can also infer that the source material for this education was what we call the Old Testament since Paul said that Timothy was “acquainted with the sacred writings.” Finally, we can infer that Timothy’s spiritual education began when he was just a boy since Paul indicated that Timothy’s familiarity with the sacred writings was “from childhood.” All of these statements point to the fact that Timothy’s spiritual education was provided by his family who began teaching him God’s word when he was still a child.
The family has always been the institution through which spiritual education is to occur. The responsibility of parents providing such education to their children wasprescribed in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, where Moses instructed the Israelites to “teach [these words that I command you today] diligently to your children, and…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.” The same responsibility was prescribed to Christian parents when Paul instructed parents, fathers in particular, to “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Thus, a Christian home is one in which faith is being developed through an education in God’s word.
Christian homes exfiltrate their families from dangerous environments.
Consider for a moment the family of Lot. Lot followed his uncle, Abraham, to Canaan but eventually chose to relocate to Sodom despite the fact that “the men of Sodom” had a reputation for being “exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord” (Genesis 13:1-13). Eventually Lot was instructed by God to leave Sodom because of its sinfulness, but Lot hesitatedto do so (Genesis 19:15-16).As a result of choosing to live in Sodom and becoming comfortable with the environment of Sodom, Lot became homeless, a widower, and the father of the enemy nations of Israel (Genesis 19:26, 30, 36-38). In one of the most disturbing texts in Scripture, Lot’s two daughters got him drunk so they could use him to father their children (Genesis 19:31-35). Where do you think they learned such sexually immoral behavior? Likely from the depraved community to which Lot offered his daughters as sexual deterrents in order to prevent the community from raping the messengers of God (Genesis 19:8). Thus, by living in Sodom, Lot exposed his family to a spiritually compromising environment.
In order for us to have Christian homes, we must protect our families from such environments. We need to be willing to exfiltrate our families from environments that may compromise their faith. Paul instructed us to “not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), and John instructed us to “not love the world” (1John 2:15). In order to heed those instructions, we must be willing to make intentional decisions to avoid becoming comfortable with the world, and Scripture consistently recommends flight as the best tactic for combating such comfort (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). Thus, parents in Christian homes willingly exfiltrate their family from dangerous environments because failure to do so may result in spiritual compromise. In so doing, we heed the words of Proverbs 27:12, which says, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
Christian homes correct its members when they are erring.
Consider for a moment the family of Eli. Eli was a highly respected leader in Israel, but his sons were “worthless,” according to 1 Samuel 2:12. They abused the rights of their role as priests and frequently broke Mosaic Law when it came to how sacrifices were to be made. Eli heard of their “evil dealings” and confronted them, but Scripture indicates that “they would not listen to the voice of their father” (1 Samuel 2:25). At first glance, it would seem as though Eli had fulfilled his parental responsibility by confronting them, but God made it clear that Eli had not done enough. Through a messenger, God told Eli that he honored his sons more than he honored Him (1 Samuel 2:29), and He told Samuel that He would “punish [Eli’s] house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them” (1 Samuel 3:13). Thus, God was displeased with Eli because he failed to do what was necessary to correct the behavior of his sons. The consequence of his failure was the death of his sons and the demise of his family (1 Samuel 2:30-34).
In order for us to have Christian homes, we must be willing to discipline our children when they do wrong. Disciplining a child is not always easy, it is never enjoyable, but it is necessary. The author of Hebrews indicated that God disciplines His children occasionally, and he compared the Lord’s discipline to that which children receive from their earthly fathers in Hebrews 12:7 when he rhetorically asked, “what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” His words indicate an underlying assumption that parents will discipline their children, and he goes on to indicate why. In Hebrews 12:11 he says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Thus, the objective of discipline is to train the recipient of the discipline, and God expects Christian homes to provide such training as evidenced by Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Though this is not an exhaustive list of all the attributes of a Christian home, it is a starting point. If you desire for your home to be a Christian home, then start here because Scripture asserts that “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1).