From Christianity Magazine via Logos Dec. 1999
Practicing Christianity at Home Every Day
Other than the individual, the oldest, smallest, closest, and most basic unity of society is the family. Families, therefore, form the building blocks of a community, a nation, a civilization. As families go, so go the city, the country, the world. That our country at the opening of the twenty-first century is in trouble few would deny. The reason? God has not only been left out of the schools and much of public life, but, practically speaking, out of our homes also.
When love, respect, morality, godliness, spirituality, duty, fairness—the bonding elements of the family—are not taught and enforced daily in the home, how can they exist in society? No nation can long survive the lack of these fundamentals in family life. Their absence in our country signals the need for the introduction of Christianity as the foundation of both family life and society.
Christianity by Biblical definition can never be viewed as occasional acts of righteousness, whether in personal life or in the home. The term Christianity in its real sense describes people—not merely by acts and deeds but by who and what they are. Yes, Christians “practice” good works, but these activities emanate from character that is developed by the regenerating power of God’s Spirit through the gospel (see Titus 3:4; John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Peter 1:22, 23; Romans 6:4). The fruit of the new birth manifests itself daily in private life, the business world, social relationships—and within households.
Christianity, according to God’s design, makes its way into the home through husbands and fathers who take charge of their families and rule them well (see 1 Timothy 3:4, 5). When a man, as leader of the family, loves the Lord his God with his whole heart, he on behalf of his household chooses whom he and his family will serve (see Joshua 24:15; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16).
A worthy man, full of love and devotion to God, gives himself sacrificially as a husband to his wife and cares for her, nourishing and cherishing her as an honorable vessel: a godly example of commitment that impacts both the wife and children (see Ephesians 5:25–29; 1 Peter 3:7).
When a mother responds to heavenly, God-like love from her husband and the father of her children with affection, respect, and admiration, children grow up in the warm atmosphere of kindness, gentleness, humility, and longsuffering—the qualities of love that Paul says endures (see Titus 2:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 13:4–7). What children see daily in their fathers and mothers and by that parental influence seek to emulate is the love of God and Christ: an unconditional care and offering of themselves to members of the family and to fellow citizens.
Fathers, with the support of mothers, not only choose, as did Joshua, to serve God but also to devote themselves to the training of their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (see Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4). The children likewise experience, as an expression of parental love, firmness and discipline that refuses to spare the rod of correction: chastisement of the body that conditions the mind and soul for reverence and holiness (see Proverbs 13:24; Hebrews 12:4–11).
The effectiveness of love and training depends largely on the spiritual maturity and example of parents who themselves walk where their Lord walked (see 1 Peter 2:21). Like Abraham of old, fathers and mothers command their children and households “after” them, demonstrating Christianity by their own faithfulness to the Lord and their insistence that the children walk in their footsteps (see Genesis 18:19). Religious conviction, spiritual devotion, and moral uprightness set a course of conduct that unalterably and unmistakably give God-directed guidance to the family.
Beyond examples of righteousness, fathers and mothers assure that the supper table, the coffee table, the rocking chair, and the bedside are the gathering and nurturing places for the children. Family life must not predominantly be lived before a TV, behind a joy stick, or at a soccer field. At the supper table, times of conversation and intimacy bind the family together, around the coffee table, Biblical instruction and prayer draw the family in reverence and godliness to the Lord, and in the rocking chair or at the bedside, hugs and kisses build wholesome regard and self-worth in the souls of developing children.
Out of all this comes a generation of Timothys: unique men and women who serve the Lord Jesus Christ in his kingdom, seek not their own things, care for others, and are a credit to the God who created them in His own image. Children reach this spiritual level because as babes they learned the sacred scriptures and in childhood they saw unfeigned love and faith in their families—daily (see 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:5; Philippians 2:19–22).
A daily regimen of God-centered and Biblically oriented life is not a new-fangled theory of home life to wage war against a corrupt and deteriorating society; it is an ancient method given to Moses who instructed God’s chosen people: “And these words which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7).
Stauffer, L. A. (1999). Practicing Christianity at Home Every Day. (B. Lewis, Ed.)Christianity Magazine, 16(12), 15.