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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

For mothers and others who love their homes

I built a lot of the furniture in our home.  A special point of pride was a walnut coffee table I designed and built 4 years before we had children.  For me, it was Exhibit "A" in our living room.  Glad to show it off.  Then we had children.  Who used rattles, blocks and other tools of destruction to dent, cut, and otherwise damage my showpiece.  I still occasionally wince remembering how I cared more about some wood and glue that my children will probably have to sell at a yard sale after I'm gone, than innocently playing children with no intentions of upsetting Daddy.  

Christine Hoover's post from Desiring God is spot on...

Christ Is Our Treasure, Not Our Homes
by Christiane Hoover   June 26, 2012

The home exists for Christ. Our marriages, our children, our physical spaces — all these are means of joyful response to Him. Through the home, we treasure Christ and show others how to treasure Him also (Titus 2:3–5; Proverbs 31:10–31).

Too often, however, we treasure the home more than we treasure Christ. As a result, what He has given as a blessing and an avenue of sanctification becomes a means of achievement or accomplishment, where our well-behaved children or our organizational abilities are an indication of our value and our righteousness. Our homes become a matter of pride, self-elevation, or comparison. And we cling to our treasure, thinking that the home is under our control, that it’s ours to possess, that we have somehow created and cultivated something special.

The temptation to treasure the home is especially intense on good days, when our children are playing nicely together, when we’re unified with our spouse, or when the house is bright and clean and everything is in order.

But on bad days? When a child throws a fit or disrespects another adult, or when communication is crossways? When the dishwasher leaks all over the kitchen floor or an appointment is forgotten? When a harsh word is spoken or priorities have been shoved aside? What about the days when life is thrown wildly off-kilter?

When the home is the treasure above Christ and our value is entwined with the circumstances of our home, the bad days are unsettling, even devastating.
On the bad days, we recognize the home acting similarly to the Law:
  • Our treasure, the home, speaks urgent, ever-changing, and unending demands for perfection that can never be fulfilled. (Galatians 3:10
  • Our treasure, the home, causes us to value and conform to what pleases others or earns their respect rather than what pleases God. (Colossians 2:20-22)
  • Our treasure, the home, with its perfectionistic, image-maintaining urgencies, cannot bring life to our hearts and our families. (Galatians 3:21)
If we treasure our home as our righteousness, we subtly teach our children that behavior matters more than the attitudes of the heart, that a clean home matters more than relationships, that we are superior to others, or that we must cling to and control the things we love rather than trust God with them.

The good news is that even when we treasure our home more than we treasure Christ, our failings act as a tutor to bring us to Christ, the true Treasure, and to show us that we are incapable of righteousness apart from Him (Galatians 3:24). We recognize in our failings that we need something apart from ourselves to make a home as God intended, that something being the grace and power of Christ.

When Christ is our treasure, our homes consist of love, grace, and utter dependence on the Holy Spirit. We don’t chase self-righteousness, and we don’t cling to treasures that, despite all their goodness, can still be lost. We cling tightly to the only Treasure that cannot be stolen or tarnished, Christ Himself.