We have an obedience problem not an information issue; we already know more than we are willing to obey.
Where would be the logical place to properly evaluate the reality of our Christianity? In our corporate gatherings or in our homes? Asking those that see us occasionally or every day? Strangers or those that know us the best? Where should the demonstration of Christ’s saving power and grace be most evident?
We all live in a family structure of some sort and that is where the reality of our relationship with Christ begins to show. Does God have a will and specific commands regarding the family and how it should function? Will we walk in obedience regarding those commands thus demonstrating our love of God?
In Genesis 2:18 – God said the unthinkable -“It is not good for man to be alone.” But, he was not alone. Man was in perfect, unbroken by sin fellowship with God. Yet, God said man needed something else. Therefore, God gave birth to the family – man and woman together. God also told them to be fruitful and multiple, thus ordaining reproduction, again it was His idea. So, how important is this topic in learning how to be a disciple of Jesus?
Let me start with the men. Ephesians 5-6 outline the roles and responsibilities of each family member and are either true or not. Regardless of our society’s attempt to destroy and pollute the roles, God’s Word remains true. God clearly states that the man is the head of the family and therefore bears the brunt of the responsibility for the functioning and leading of it.
1 Corinthians 11:3 – But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
Christianity did a great deal to improve the condition of women and if we follow its teachings, we will continue to do so. For example – Paul says we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church – dying to our selves, laying down our lives, washing her with the Word of God, which means, we have the Scripture as the center of the authority in our homes. We must learn how to walk in the fruit of the Spirit at home. We are to be gentle in word and deed.
Peter specifically states that we as men must learn to live with our wives as joint heirs and in an understanding way:
1 Peter 3:7 – Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor (being gentle with) to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
If we refuse or do not follow this verse, even our prayers are affected. In fact, a man’s leadership skills in the home have a direct impact on his ability to lead the church. (See 1 Timothy1 and Titus 1)
While the women should be cheering these comments, the wives have a key role as well. Wives must learn how to respect their men. Fan into flame any spark they see, and do not pour cold water on it. Most women have little understanding of the battles men face in their minds, hearts, and pressures of leadership – we are different, not one better than the other, just different with differing roles, pressures and battles.
God calls the wife to submission – not domination, but a willingness to line up under an imperfect man trusting God to lead the one in charge – this means having great faith in God to be Sovereign. The Scriptures spell this out in five different places.
We all live under some type of authority and a great deal can be learned by being so. What happens when there is a crossing of wills? How do we respond when the one given the authority by God does not obey God or hear from God perfectly? What then? There should be discussion, an appeal process, but in the end, do we trust God and are we willing to obey His word? (See Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3 for details)
Wise wives learn to build up and not destroy with their words:
Proverbs 14:1 -The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands (lips) tears it down.
Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
The wife often determines the spirit of the home. What is the atmosphere of the home? What are the children seeing, hearing and learning in the home? How real is Christ and His grace and power? Are the children seeing imperfect people depending on a perfect Savior or hypocrisy? They will catch what is real, and not necessarily, what is spoken. We live what we really believe, and this is what children will imitate.
Children are also addressed in the Scriptures. Both Ephesians 6:1-3 and Colossians s 3:20 state:
Children, obey your parents
This command remains in effect until the child leaves their parent’s home and begins their own. Once out on their own, they are still commanded to honor and respect their parents.
Children can learn a great deal through submission to their parents and gain valuable insights on how to function in the real world. God knew what He was doing by placing children under imperfect parents.
Let me make some summary points: Most of us do not need more information we need grace and humility to walk out what we already know.
We know we need to grow in love, death to self, honoring others, submitting to authorities, and esteeming everyone else as better than our self. We know what the Word says, living it out is a minute-by-minute decision and act of our will in obedience is what is hard.
True Christianity begins in the home. We are given multiple opportunities to walk in grace every day. We learn how to practice what we believe with those we spend the most time with! We prove we are Jesus’ disciples by how we live our days with our family! Then, we look outward to help disciple others.
If Christ makes no difference in your home, then it is time to question what it is you believe, and what you are really doing. It is time to question what really happened to you at salvation. The Word of God is either true or not. Jesus commands are there to obey. Will we? If not, why not? Are we a disciple? Do we want to grow? Do we want fruit? Jeff you are so harsh. Am I?
Let’s sum up what Jesus said about being His follower: love me more than anyone else alive, take up your cross daily, love me more than anything on this earth, demonstrate your love by walking in obedience to my commandments, fulfill the royal law by loving others so the world will know you know Me, men, love your wives, learning to live with them in an understanding way, wives, respect your husbands, willingly line up under them in faith. Children obey both.
How is that harsh? We must consider these questions about our discipleship process: What will the world see from us in our families? Where else will our children find a role model if not from you? Where is the best place to learn discipleship? I believe in the home.
God created families and He has given specific commands for each member. The only question remaining is: Will we obey Him?