One of my dear friends once told me of a time when she and her husband were first married. During their first few years of marriage, their home was a simple, small apartment with hardly any furnishings. She went on to tell me that they were just as happy then as they are now, many years later, living in a large house on five acres of land.
I learned from that conversation that it is not the things we have that change our houses into homes, it is rather the attitude and belief in our hearts. Psalm 128:1–4 tells us exactly what is needed for a happy home:
Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
All throughout God’s Word, we find principles like this that help guide, instruct, and direct us in the making of a happy home.
Give Christ the Preeminence
In our homes, we must allow Christ to not only be present, but to be preeminent. As a family, we should live in such a way that the presence of God is very real. We want our children to realize that God is the greatest reality of life, not just in church on Sunday or Wednesday nights, but that He is with us all day, everyday. As parents, this type of attitude begins with us. We must model our love for Christ to our children. A great question to ask yourself would be, “In what ways am I making it a priority to demonstrate the fact that I love God with all of my heart?”
According to God’s Word, this is not something that is optional. It is a direct command to every believer.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”—Deuteronomy 6:5
Have your children or your family members seen you pray recently? Do they know and expect that you will have daily quiet time with God? How do you react when things do not go your way? These are all outward signs of our inner relationship with and love for God.
Teach Character and Sound Doctrine
One of the first things God commands us to build in our homes is godly character. This can only be accomplished by both learning and teaching Scriptural principles and biblical doctrine. One of the first things God commands us to build in our homes is character and sound doctrine.
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.—Proverbs 4:1–2
A Christian home does not develop by accident; it requires dedication, effort, hard work, and much prayer. And it is never too early to start training, teaching, and instilling character in your children. One of the best possible things you could do for your family is create a special time where you, both as an individual and as a family, spend time in God’s Word and in prayer with God Himself. When you and your family are no longer simply reading God’s Word, but heeding it as well, you are well on your way to a dream home! We must apply what we learn in the Bible to our everyday lives.
Always Express Your Love
Another vital ingredient we should have in our homes is surprisingly simple, but extraordinarily important—love.
Jesus Himself commanded this!
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.—John 13:34–35
Sometimes it can be hard to accurately measure love. How do we know if we are being obedient to this important command in God’s Word? A great question to ask when we are evaluating this would be: how is love being demonstrated in our homes?
Of course, one of the easiest ways to incorporate love is to simply say it. Your children need to hear that you love them. Don’t be like the man who said, “I told my wife I loved her when we were married, and I’ll let her know if anything changes.” Find every opportunity to remind your children and husband that you love them. Write notes, send them a message, or simply whisper it in their ear!
Just as important as our words is our willingness to act on our love…to put it to work! Someone once said, “You don’t have to do great things, just small things with great love.”
First Corinthians 13 provides us with an entire “laundry list” of actions displayed by a godly love. Could you name three ways you are implementing each individual description of love in this chapter? If you can’t, it’s worth it to start investing in love. Don’t have regrets at the end of your life. Show love to your family now—you are not guaranteed of tomorrow!
Follow God’s Plan
Imagine, for a moment, hiring an architect to design plans for your new house. When he finishes and hands over his meticulously developed blueprint, you take a pen and begin scratching out walls and adding rooms. Even while we realize this would certainly be a foolish thing to do, we still sometimes have a tendency to do this very thing to God!
The home is God’s design, after all. He is the best builder and sustainer of our family. He alone is the Master Architect and has the final blueprint for each of our lives. But, sometimes responding in love seems like a weak course of action. Other times, making time to go to church or sacrificing to support missionaries does not appear to be a wise investment. But, in every situation, we must obey and trust that He knows the best manner in which to build our homes.
We must follow His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, even when our human sense does not always agree. While it may be difficult at times to yield our will to His, the best part is we do not have to guess at what we are supposed to do! He has already given us the specific tools we need to follow His blueprint.
If you would like more on building your home according to God’s blueprint, you can find audio sessions from the 2013 Lancaster Baptist Church Ladies Conference here.