Sunday, February 19, 2012 am
GODLY HOMES IN AN
UNGODLY WORLD (14)
Conclusion – Maintaining Godly Homes
a. It is a fact that in marriage and the home you WILL face problems. It is a part of life dealing with different individuals each with distinct personalities, functions and needs. At times these things will clash. AT other times the stable home will clash with society and the physical needs of the home. How we handle these situations will determine how strong and godly the home will be. But as with every other aspect of the home, God’s word gives us guidance in dealing with problems.
b. Various types of problems –
i. Poor communication – a major source of problems is our misunderstanding of one another. We enter a relationship with expectations and assumptions that others in the marriage/home think like we do. But, as we have noted, we don’t! Men and women process situations differently. In addition to this there are many circumstances that factor when and how we communicate. But for a marriage to thrive there needs to be proper understanding and communication. It will take effort, but if we will seek to communicate with understanding and a proper attitude, we can make our homes stronger.
ii. Financial – one of primary causes of marriage failure is finances. Often this is brought on by materialism, selfishness and poor financial responsibility. When our homes are governed by materialistic goals, God is going to be sidelines. Jesus Himself said, “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). We know that the Bible extensively addresses the subject of material possessions. In a book by Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity he notes that there are more than 2300 verses in the Bible that deal with money and our possessions. That’s more verses than on faith and prayer combined. A strong home is one that is not driven by materialism.
iii. Worldliness – while it includes materialism, worldliness goes farther. Worldliness can include the types of entertainment we allow into our homes, how we utilize our time, what our ambitions are, who we let influence the decisions we make, etc. 1 John 2:15-17 describes the avenues of worldliness. Jas. 4:4 tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God. It will also do spiritual damage to the home as it draws one or all away from proper devotion to God.
iv. Improper attitudes – we have touched on some of the attitudes that cause problems within the home. The truth is there are many – selfishness, hatefulness, pride, indifference, laziness, jealousy, anger, dishonesty, tyranny, etc. All such attitudes are harmful in any relationship. Christians must avoid these in all things, especially within the home and those closest to you.
v. Getting into a rut – when life is unexciting and the marriage relationship becomes boring, there are dangers. There are tendencies to take your mate or family for granted. Often times such things gradually erode away at a marriage or home until it falls apart.
vi. Marital infidelity – another one of the main causes of marital problems, often leading to divorce. And in our sexually charged society with its temptations at every corner, it is a serious concern. In our study we have noted that there are circumstances in this category where God allows the marriage to be dissolved and the innocent party to remarry (Matt. 19:9). The reason is because on who commits adultery has broken the covenant vows made before God and to one another.
c. Dealing with problems
i. Each type of problem has its own unique solution that IS addressed in the Bible. A few years ago, we engaged in a study of family problems. The outlines are available at our website under sermon archives. We will link to this series from our Godly Homes homepage, But beyond the individual solutions, there are some thoughts that apply generically to dealing with whatever problems we face. If we want our homes to be spiritually strong we need to consider the following:
ii. Seek first the kingdom of God – Matt. 6:33. Many of the problems we face in our homes result from God NOT being first. Remember, we are approaching this study from the standpoint of Godly homes. He instituted the home and HE knows what is best. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Seek His word for solutions! If all within the home will seek Him first, it can survive anything that attacks it.
iii. Address them – as with everything in life, you cannot ignore your problems. You have to face them or they will get worse. In the case of family problems – failing to address physical issues (finances, communication, intimacy, etc.) will result in frustration, then resentment and numerous other unhealthy attitudes. This is when the explosions happen where severe damage is done. 1 Cor. 5:6 warns us that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. While addressing the church, it is a true axiom of life.
– if you really want to resolve problems, start by looking inward.
Few problems in the home are solely the problem of one party.
Even if one spouse is guilty of something, I need to see if I
contributed to the problem with improper attitudes and actions.
Did my failures to fulfill my role contribute to their problems?
NOTE: DO NOT misunderstand me here. I am not saying for you to accept the total blame for the failure of others or to ignore faults, but just to honestly examine and acknowledge your part if it is there. Did unkind attitudes lead to problems? Did you contribute to the problems with money and things?
v. Be accountable! This goes along with addressing the problems, but it is a step further. The Bible constantly addresses the need to be accountable. It involves taking responsibility and doing your part to make things right AND to avoiding problems. It means admitting you are wrong when you are and accepting the consequences for your actions. This is also an early step to rebuilding any damage that has occurred because of your failures.
vi. Maintain a godly attitude – you have to keep you head on straight AND keep it spiritual if you want to overcome problems in a godly way. It will also go a long way in preventing problems from getting worse or adding more problems to those already there. An example of this is Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”
vii. Build on your strengths - look for the good in yourself and others in your home. Assume the best rather than the worst when problems arise (though not blindly). 1 Cor. 13:5-6 – Love “thinks no evil…” We need to learn to emphasize the good, so that there is a foundation upon which to build when problems do arise.
viii. Be patient - Never forget that marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. The same is true of parenting and children. Often the problems we face in the home do not occur over night and they are not going to go away quickly. We must learn to “suffer long” and endure as problems are addressed.
ix. Learn to “fight fair” – there are many rules to consider when you disagree with your spouse – including respect & love, limiting accusations (to the issues at hand), knowing what boundaries not to cross (i.e. name calling, bringing up the past, etc.), cooling off, wanting to forgive, etc.
a. The ideal home is one in which everyone love’s God and lets that be their motivation. But the truth is that no home is perfect and as we have seen, problems will arise. There are times when each of us will FAIL. Or perhaps you are in a circumstance where your spouse (or child or parent) is simply not doing their part to make things better. What then?
b. There is a principle that YOU need to take into account no matter what: Realize that you are a Christian and that everything you do is “unto the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22, 25; Col. 3:23)
c. In the home that means, that your first priority is to FULFILL YOUR ROLE!
i. Regardless of what anyone else does, you do what you are supposed to do!
ii. Often times, the reason problems go unresolved or get worse is because we hold out until the other person does what we think is right. I.e. A husband will not show love to his wife because she does not respect him, BUT the wife refuses to respect her husband because he does treat her with love. IT is a cycle spinning out of control.
iii. To stop the cycle and begin to repair the damage, SOMEONE has to do what is right! Will that be you?
d. If the other party is sinning and failing to fulfill their role, does that excuse you of YOUR accountability? When you stand before God who will you give an account for? (2 Cor. 5:10, Rom. 14:12) YOU!
i. Let this be your motivation even if others don’t EVER do the right thing.
ii. BUT OFTEN times, when you begin to do your part, in time it will lead to others responding in a proper manner.
e. If EVERYONE in the home lives “as unto the Lord”, the home will thrive spiritually. Problems will still arise and challenges will come, BUT you will be fine and handle them efficiently. God will be glorified and you home will be stable.
We end where we began
this study – in Genesis 2:24 which says, “Therefore
a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and
they shall become one flesh.”
We noted early in this study that the home of one of three God ordained institutions. As we have studied the scriptures we have seen God’s instructions for a home that is healthy and thriving. It is based upon all respecting His will. Could it not be that His intent with the home is actually a foretaste of that which we have to look forward to in heaven?
b. I want to call your attention to a spiritual application. With everything we have learned about the home, there are comparisons to our relationship with God. Consider the following:
i. WE are the FAMILY of God – “household of God.” Ephesians 2:19, “Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but members of the household of God.”
ii. Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
iii. We are described as “children of God” – Phil. 2:15, 1 John 3:1-2, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.”
iv. He is described as our heavenly FATHER – Matt. 5:16, 6:9, 14, etc.
v. He chastens us as children – Heb. 12:5-11
vi. Adoption as sons – Gal. 4:5, Ephesians 1:5, etc.
makes a comparison between the husband and wife and Christ and His
2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
The New Jerusalem is
described as “a bride adorned for her husband” – Rev. 21:2.
Vs. 9 speaks of the bride being “the Lamb’s wife.”
Rev. 19:7 speaks of “the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.”
Rev. 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’”
Matt. 25:1-13- the bridegroom is compared to Christ coming at the end
c. It is my conviction that God’s direction for the home is no accident. When the home is as it ought to be, it is a taste of what we have to look forward to when this life is over. I am convinced that in heaven, we will experience the home the way God intended – not in marriage (cf. Luke 20:35), but in relationship to one another. With God as our Father, and we as brothers and sisters in the Lord, we will be “one big happy family.”
May we strive, to the best of our abilities, to make our homes as close to God’s will as we possibly can, and enjoy just a small taste of the bliss to come, a refuge from the ungodliness that abounds all around us. The study is yours.
 Alcorn, R. (2003). Money, possessions, and eternity. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale.