What Makes a Christian Home?
Each Mentoring Monday I share my reflections on what I’ve been learning from my “paper mentors.” I am currently joining in a book discussion of Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay Clarkson (with Sally Clarkson). If you want to join in, visit our Facebook discussion group page.
Educating the WholeHearted Child: Chapter 1
“A Christian home is never defined by what the children are doing; it is defined by what the parents are doing. Your child could study the Bible every day, listen only to Christian music, watch only Christian videos, read missionary biographies, know a zillion memory verses, and never miss Sunday School or Bible Club, yet still not live in a Christian home” (page 20).
It is easy to put on those external trappings and consider our job done. Obviously none of these things are bad. It’s just that real faith is the result of a Christ-centered heart. We must always remember that our “doing” flows out of our “being,” and not the other way around. If we want to raise Christian children, our focus needs to be on their hearts, rather than on “Christian” activities.
So, what makes a Christian home? The Clarksons say, “A Christian home is one in which the parents purposefully keep Jesus Christ at the center of every area of family life” (page 20). They break this down into three biblical priorities:
- home nurture (“Shepherding Your Child’s Spirit to Long for God”)
- home discipleship (“Shaping Your Child’s Heart to Live for God”)
- home education (“Strengthening Your Child’s Mind to Learn for God”).
Of these three, I think the first is the one I find most challenging. “The heart of home nurture is bringing the living Christ into all that you do through the life of the Holy Spirit and through the living and active Word of God” (page 20).
Why do I find it so hard to expose my children to the living God? He has done so much for me. My own faith burns fiercely in my heart. Surely some of that must overflow into my life. I pray my children can see it. Yet I feel like I am sorely lacking in this area. I feel like I get so caught up in the day to day business of running a home and accomplishing everything that needs to be done when there are four little ones in the house that my children don’t really catch more than a tiny glimpse of who I really am, of who God really is, of how He moves in my life and directs my steps.
More than anything, I want my children to long for God. As I read what the Clarksons have said about home nurture, I feel a deficit that I pray the Lord will help to fill. I love this quote by Rev. Andrew Murray in the sidebar on page 20:
“To take charge of an immortal soul, to train a will for God and eternity, surely we ought to shrink from it. But we cannot. If we are parents, the duty is laid upon us. But, thank God! Sufficient grace is prepared and promised, too.”
Sufficient grace. I will trust in You, Lord.