One of my sons-in-law has done something I have never attempted to do: He has built a house from the foundation up. In fact, he has built many houses, and his workmanship is recognized as superior. I can’t imagine doing that, as I do not have the skills, though I do appreciate the fine work exhibited by others who do have the required skills. I’m afraid if I were to put myself to building a house, the project might turn out like the good people of Pisa experienced when they set out to build a tower in their Italian city. It took them 178 years to finish the job, and when they were through, the now-famous tower was leaning 52” from perpendicular. Over the centuries, the lean aggravated slowly and eventually reached a drift of 17 feet! That would be like my building project for sure!
I will not be building any houses, but for 57 years now I have been building a home. Solomon had a home in mind when he wrote, “Through wisdom a house is builded and by understanding it is established.” (Provs.24:3) A young serviceman and his family were living in a hotel near a military base where he was temporarily assigned. One day his little girl was playing house in the lobby when a lady asked, “Isn’t it too bad you don’t have a home?” “Oh, we do,” the child answered, “we just don’t have a house to put it in!”
A Christian home. What is it? One writer defined it aptly: “It is one in which the ideals for living found in life and in the teachings of Jesus Christ are accepted, exalted and exemplified.” (Harold Bosley) That is the kind of home every Christian couple ought to be building, Christ Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone and foundation.
But to build a Christian home one must first build a Christian life, and it is imperative to remember that the oldest of all institutions, the home—ordained of God in the first week of the world—was and is intended to last a lifetime.
A nationwide survey of 3,118 single teenagers revealed that 90% of the girls and 85% of the boys expected their marriages to last a lifetime. Sadly, the teens’ ideal of “living happily ever after” does not materialize in many cases. Some couples try cohabitation—living together before marriage—as a “trial run” of the possible marriage. One national survey of families showed that 40% of the couples who cohabit break up before they marry. Of the 60% of couples who marry having experienced the “trial run” first, 45% ended up getting a divorce.
What went wrong? Why those staggering statistics? Many factors have been cited: “We just grew apart;” “My sexual needs have not been met;” “I can’t respect him anymore;” “She was moody all the time;” “I got married way too young and missed out on a lot of experiences;” “We argued all the time;” “He comes home and sits before the TV all night and we never talk,” etc., ad nauseam.
But wait, there is hope for any and every marriage! Solomon, in his wisdom, says in Prov. 24:3 that there are three key ingredients for building a lasting home: wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
There is a need for wisdom in laying the foundation of a happy, thriving home. Wisdom that is from above which is first pure, then peaceable… (James 3:17). Wisdom will assure us of the right resolve in life’s day in and day out experiences.
First, the right resolve concerning our worship. Worship is private, and it is also at times public. Families that worship together as a family, regularly—both at home through family devotions and in concert with other believers as in a church gathering—tend to produce children who embrace the faith of their fathers. A study disclosed that if both mom and dad attended church regularly, 72% of their offspring would remain faithful in their faith-walk and practice. If only mom attends church regularly, 15% of the children will grow up to perpetuate her faith. In a home where neither mother nor father consistently practice worship in a body of believers, a church, just 6% of the children of that union will live out a personal faith-walk when they become adults. At the top of the list of most Christian women, when asked what they desired and needed most to make their marriage a fulfilling one, a praying husband is mentioned as number one. A Christian home needs Christian parents who regularly, both at home and in public, gather the family for times of worship. Wisdom will produce this in a home where Christ is revered and God’s Word is more than a book on the shelf.
By way of personal testimony, Ellen and I are both thankful to have been reared in such a godly home. Family devotions were part of our daily routine. When God blessed us with children, we continued that daily routine of Bible reading and prayer. We, Ellen and I, still do, and it is the best few minutes of any day. I can attest that as a teenager, if I would come to family devotions with a bad spirit, it was impossible to pray together as a family and get up to go about one’s daily activities with that same bad spirit. Praying together really does work supernaturally in the hearts of each family member.
So, we who are building a Christian Home need wisdom for our resolve in worship. Then, second, we need wisdom for our walk with Christ in a world that is not a friend of His. Our walk should be with all lowliness, meekness, long-suffering and forbearing, Eph. 4:1,2; it is a walk that distinguishes the believer from the vanity of this world, Eph.4:17; a walk in love, Eph.5:1; in light, Eph.5:8; and a circumspect walk, Eph. 5:15, redeeming the time in the light of days that are evil. Wisdom for a right resolve to walk rightly in this world is a must for each who names the name of Christ.
Have you heard of Bobby Richardson, the famed 2nd baseman who played for the great New York Yankees franchise back in their glory days of the early 1960’s? It was the 7th game of the 1962 World Series, and the San Francisco Giants had a man on 2nd base. When the Yanks decided to change pitchers, Richardson, a born-again believer, walked over to 2nd base and asked the runner on base if he were a Christian. While the new pitcher warmed up, Richardson saw an opportunity to speak to a man about his soul. When the runner got back to the dugout, he asked Felipe Alou, who was also a believer, what was going on. “Even in the seventh game of the World Series,” he said to Felipe, “you people are still talking about Jesus.” That runner could not understand why Christians were so eager to talk to others about Jesus. But Richardson had a walk in love and in light that could not be hidden. He had a right resolve to always “walk worthy,” (Eph.4:1) and his life then and thereafter was a testimony to that walk.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” (Eph. 5:2)