Are You Living Out The Gospel At Home – by Jim Nelson
Do we live our lives different on Sunday morning vs the rest of the week? Are you normally on your very best behavior Sunday morning? What about Monday morning and the rest of the week at home when we are tired, stressed out, dealing with financial issues, etc.?
What would our family members have to say about this? If you are like me, this can be a very sobering evaluation. The Bible teaches us to examine how we are living out our faith. A verse I read recently made me reflect on this issue. In this verse, Paul is telling the Corinthians that they should examine their hearts to see if they were really true Christians and members of the family of God.
2 Corinthian 13:5, “Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test!”
When I really think about it, my wife and children are my nearest neighbors, and Jesus commands me to love my neighbor. This clearly means that Home is the first place I’m called to display the love of Christ. How I act there really matters to God.
Jonathan Edwards linked the home, the church, and the gospel together. He made this quote during his farewell sermon, “Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ and wholly influenced and governed by His rules.” This is a very powerful statement, and it should humble us greatly and at the same time motivate us to make any needed changes.
If we’re honest, however, home can be the most challenging place to live out the gospel’s implication. We say things to our children that we would never say to anyone else. We express anger to our spouses that we hide from others. In His grace, God is using those close quarters to shine a floodlight on my own idols! He is revealing my true heart condition in order to mold me into the image of His Son, and believe me, this can be painful but needed. In both my actions and reactions, I see my true self. Not always a pretty sight!
Meditate and pray that the Spirit will lead us in repentance, obedience, and application to God’s Word in these following verses;
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5) “Love is patient and kind; love does not boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.”
(Ephesians 4:29) “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
(Galatians 5-24) “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”
But God doesn’t leave us merely aware of our sin. In addition to granting forgiveness, the gospel empowers holiness. The Spirit helps us put on the Lord Jesus and make no provision for the flesh, (see Colossians 3:12-14.) We can walk in the Spirit, crucifying self-indulgences and serving our families well. (See Philippians 2:12-13.)
Christian Pastor and Author, Chap Bettis highlights five areas to focus on while we live out the gospel at home.
- Receive your children and spouse as God-given instruments to shape you into Christlikeness. Trust that God is working in your family during trials to conform you and your family into the image of Jesus.
- Slow down and observe your own actions and reactions. When we are busy, running from event to event, it’s easy to minimize self-reflection. Blowups are quickly forgotten. Slowing your pace of life allows for deeper self-reflection. Business is one of Satan’s greatest tools!
- Stop excusing your sin. It is easy to blame our reactions on others. But we must realize no one causes us to sin. How we treat our families exposes our “real” selves and how much we love God (see 1 John 4:20.) Even when we’re sinned against, we can still learn to please our heavenly Father, (see 1 Peter 2:23, 3:9.)
- Search the Scriptures. The Bible speaks to the issues you’re facing at home. Simply reading James 1 with your family in mind, for example, will remind you that you need wisdom, as well as the need to remain steadfast in the trial, to be slow to speak, to be a doer of the Word, and to bridle your tongue.
- Know your children are watching. Hypocrisy from spiritual leaders-including parents-is the number one reason prodigals give for leaving the faith. Our children are watching how we act under pressures of home to see if our Savior makes a real difference in our lives.
When the Apostle Paul addressed the households in the church of Colossae, he instructed wives, husbands, children, masters, and servants alike to put to death the exploits of the flesh, put on the qualities of Christ, and do everything in word and deed for the glory of God.
Our home life can never be isolated from church life. For the church to remain a city on the hill, the light of the gospel must shine brightly in the home.
Your brother in Christ,