True Religion Starts At Home
Many professing Christians tend to dismiss the word “religion”, saying things like - Christianity is about a relationship, not religion. Is this the result of so-called Christian enlightenment? Or is it another example of people replacing the words of the Bible with their own personal ideas? It is true that being a Christian is about being rightly related to the Lord. Christians are those who follow Jesus as Lord of their lives. So a relationship is there to be sure. But notice what the Bible says in the first chapter of the Book of James: " Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Here we see James speaking of the “faith which worketh by love” that Paul wrote about, and he uses the disfavored word “religion” to describe it. So much for quippy, shallow theology. The Bible has this to say in 1 Timothy chapter 5: “…let them learn first to shew piety at home…” In speaking of various members of a family, the Bible mentions widows and the need for family members to provide for them, and then Paul makes the well-known statement: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
The word piety means the quality of being religious, holy, godly, or reverent. In short, piety, or true religion, is obedience to God. When it comes to true religion, or obedience to the Lord, the Bible teaches us that the home is the foremost area of obligation in our lives. The Lord has given us commands to obey within the context of our families. He commands the husband and father to provide for and protect the family, to love his wife as Christ loves the Church, and to lead his wife and children in the way of holiness. The Lord commands the wife and mother to be a keeper at home who reverences her husband and nurtures her children. God commands children to honor their parents and to love one another.
The Lord tells us - "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Do people today really believe the Bible to be true? A great many would say they believe it is true, but when it comes to verses like this one, they will spend a few minutes explaining to you why it does not mean what it says. G. Campbell Morgan said many years ago: “New methods and new ideals concerning [child rearing] have made men question the absolute accuracy of this Old Testament passage.” If you insist that what the Bible says here is true, you are going to run into protests. People do not seem to believe it. Usually, the protests come from professing Christian parents whose children have gone wrong. The real reason people do not seem to believe this verse means what it says is because so many professing Christian parents are not willing to admit they did not have a Christ-ruled home. Their "truth" is what they have personally experienced, instead of the Word of God.
There are many experts today that think they have the answers for what it takes to have a healthy home. There are experts on architecture that tell us what a house should look like. There are psychology experts that tell us how to be happy. Financial experts tell us how to balance budgets. Many people tell us that a government education is the key to a better life. But none of these things can take the place of allowing Christ to be Lord of our hearts and our homes. Family members are dying in their sins, yet husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and their children, are wallowing in sinful self-indulgences. Wives and mothers need to give up their social groups and employment and give their time to their husbands instead of a co-worker or supervisor, and they need to stay home with their children and train them in the fear of God as the Word commands. The Lord does not give us children for someone else to raise. Husbands and fathers, God has appointed us to be guardians of the home. What are we profited if we gain business success, but apart from Christ, we lose our own soul, and we see our wife and children lose theirs? How terrifying it is to deprive our families of real Christianity.
Our time with our families is precious. We move swiftly through life and we can miss out on what really matters. There are many distractions in our world. They are countless. The input that our families receive from us shapes their lives. This is why our homes must be ruled by Christ. We have opportunities, every day, to shape the lives of our loved ones and we must not let them pass us by.