Daniel Fast Day 15

Our Homes, A Very Good Place to Start

One of my wife’s very favorite movies is The Sound of Music, released on March 2, 1965. Way before many of you were even a twinkle in your Daddy’s eye. (Sing with me…”The hills are alive, with the sound of music…”) Just like Maria (Julie Andrews) sang to the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music, we need to “… start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” Fruitful living starts at home; it’s not only a very good place to start, it is the best place to start. If we are going to be fruitful and look like Jesus, the best place to start is in our own homes!

It would seem that Paul, writing to the church at Colossae, suddenly took a left turn in His communication. Maybe he had too much barley bread and lentil soup. He talked about the preeminence of Christ Jesus and that Jesus is supreme over all of creation. He reminds us that we have been raised with Christ, therefore, we can set our minds on heaven, not on the things of this earth. He gives us an analogy of disrobing from our old sinful nature and putting on clothes that please God. He encourages us to let peace rule in our hearts and we must allow the Word to have the run of the house. This will result not only in changed behavior but also changes in the way we speak to others. The evidence for all of this will be reflected in a cheerful heart singing songs to the Lord and a grateful attitude affecting everything we do. 

Then suddenly he writes, Colossians 3:18-21(NLT) “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.  Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” Paul is not confused or distracted in any way. He is actually right on point. He wants all of us to understand now that we have been changed by Christ Jesus and are wearing our new wardrobe, the first place that it would be evident is in our homes. Before we show the world what we look like, our family should be the first beneficiaries of our changed life. The home is the testing ground to see how to practically live out this beautiful new life. As someone so eloquently put it, “If the product doesn’t work at home, please don’t export it.” The home is our first place of ministry and our best place of testing. Why? Because at home we live with people that know us best and are supposed to love us first.

At home, our families know our weaknesses and our strengths. More than that, they know how to push our buttons. Home is where we are to be transparent and vulnerable because we are supposed to love unconditionally. The family is God’s idea. In Genesis we read, Genesis 2:18(NIV) “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” We were never created to be alone. We were created for community and the first place of community is found in our homes. Strength is found in the relationship between husband and wife. 

Genesis 2:21-24(NIV) “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The Lord brought Eve to Adam and Adam immediately went, “WOW-MAN” she looks way better than me, yet she came from me, so she is now part of me and I will call her woman! So, I leave the familiar, father and mother, and I become one with her. There is power in a united husband and wife that is not only beneficial for them but for their future children. 

That is why the enemy of our faith loves to destroy families. Families are the backbone and strength of communities. Many of the problems we are dealing with in our society today can be directly correlated to the breakdown of the family. What is becoming more and more rare in our world is having a mom and a dad who love one another and are committed to making their home a safe place. This is not to put guilt and condemnation on those who are not living in this type of home, rather it’s to help us be Christ-like in the very place that is affecting our world so much. The skeletons of broken families litter the landscape. The hurt that many have dealt with and are dealing with is no joke. Broken homes affect us all, directly or indirectly. Healthy homes start with us. 

Paul lays out what it looks like. In healthy homes, wives submit, husbands love and children obey. Submission, love, and obedience are characteristics of a healthy and Christ-like home. He tells the wives what their submission should look like. It is submission that is fitting for all of us who follow Christ. Submission is the most liberating word there is. We have allowed it to be stolen and polluted by culture. We think of submission like two wrestlers fighting in the ring. As they battle one another, one overpowers the other and forces them into submission. This is such a wrong picture of Christ-like submission. Christ-like submission is a voluntary act of faith, not a forced act of obedience. Ephesians 5:21-22(NLT) ”And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” We submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, not out of dominance of the other person. Wives who submit to their husbands are not weak, they are strong. They demonstrate their faith and trust in God through their submission.

Husbands are told to love their wives and never treat them harshly. Submission is easy when we treat one another like Jesus treats us. Harsh treatment can come in many forms: neglect, rudeness, control, contempt, conflict, anger, silent treatment, passive aggressive behavior, rude remarks, and a plethora more. The point is that husbands, you have to be like Jesus to your wife and family. Ephesians 5:25-29(NLT) ”For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.”

Husbands take the sacrificial role of giving up their lives just like Jesus did for us! Loving your wife like Christ is showing that you love yourself.
If you’re a child in the home, obedience is not just fitting, it is required. When children obey, God is pleased. The requirements for healthy homes are simple in instruction, but challenging in practice. Yet, we are fully equipped by the Holy Spirit, not only to obey what God’s Word requires but also to demonstrate that we have truly clothed ourselves in Christ-like garments. Kindness, forgiveness, generosity, discipline, mercy, compassion, quick to forgive, making allowance for people’s mistakes, all of these are practiced at home first. Paul gives each one of us specific instructions of what we must do; but then he gives one very specific thing to fathers, what not to do.

Colossians 3:21(NLT) “Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.” How do we aggravate or exasperate our children? When the rules keep changing and there is no consistency. What is “yes” today, is “no” tomorrow and is “maybe” next week. That frustrates kids. They need boundaries and when they don’t know where those boundaries are, or if the boundaries keep moving, they get discouraged. Our kids face such pressure from a culture that is anti-God and hostile towards faith. Therefore, our homes should be places of refuge, not battlefields. Children can spot hypocrisy quicker than I can spot a doughnut shop after the Daniel Fast. Let’s live what we preach. Let’s practice love and grace at home. 

Wives submit as is fitting for those of us who follow Jesus. Husbands love your wives without any harshness or cruelty. Children obey your parents because this pleases the Lord. Fathers don’t annoy your children. To live out our faith in a practical way, the home is the best place to start.

Prayer and Reflection:
  • Christian homes should be a microcosm of God’s family. Is yours? Why or why not? What can you do to make things better?
  • Why do you think submission is such a misunderstood concept in our world and in our churches? What does submission mean to you?
  • Submission is liberating and an act of faith. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? What makes submission an act of faith?
  • What does sacrifice look like for a husband who desires to be like Christ? What are some practical things that you can think of in terms of sacrifice?
  • Do you live out your faith in such a way before your children, that they know Christ is the center of your life? What would your children say?

Father, thank You that I am part of Your family. Thank You that we have received clear instructions in Your Word of what it looks like to belong to a home that serves You. I know that there are many families that are hurting, some who have gone through great difficulty. May they be comforted by You and be led by You. Help me to be aware of those who might need help or a word of encouragement. I never want to sit in judgment of anyone or condemn anyone, so show me who I can help. Strengthen the single Mom and Dad. Help the grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Remind all of us that we need You!

I pray that all of our families in Christ will thrive. Help us to live out what we say we believe in our homes. If there is any hypocrisy in us, please remove it and forgive us. We submit to one another as we submit to You. As husbands, give us the vision You have for our families, and let us live sacrificially for our wives and children. Help us not to be a stumbling block to our children, but a source of encouragement and example. As wives, give us a revelation of true submission so we can live it out in our marriages.  As children, give us a heart of obedience and respect for our parents. We honor You as our Heavenly Father, and we want to obey You as Your children.
Thank You Father. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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