The home urgently needs a high priority in life. For the home-makers it is the goal of their dreams’ the center of their efforts. For society it is the basic unit; as go the homes so goes society. Without good homes there can be no great society.
The Christian home is outstandingly important. It shelters and shapes the finest and the highest in the spouses and in the growing, potential–packed lives of the children. The twenty years the young spend in the parental home largely shape the fifty–hoped for—later years in this life, and also the destiny beyond.
Homes, especially Christian homes, need intensified emphasis in our fast-changing and complex: society, so threatened by decay. Amid all our good conferences we also need Institutes on Family Relations or something like them. Our homes need much more study and effort to make them what they ought to be before God and man.
The roots of the Christian home need careful thought! It takes Christian to make Christian homes.
I Corinthians 7:39 enjoins marriage “only in the Lord.” Our Bible does not forbid the marriage of persons of differing cultural or financial standings, of different nations or races, but it does say: “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers” (II Cor. 6:14). Not the face or the figure, the manners or the wealth, is first but Christian character! This calls for watchfulness and prayer and warns against headlong “falling in love.”
A boy called a girl for a date. She agreed but before they hung up be asked her: “Which church do you go to?” The answer was unsatisfactory and he said: “I guess it’s no use then.” For him unfit to mate meant unfit to date. He was using a good test. God–led conscience must guard and guide youth maiden relations. Cromwell once said: “I don’t trust that man in anything who does not make conscience of everything.” Surely laying home foundations asks conscientiousness.
It not only takes Christians to make a Christian home; they must be prepared Christians! We know we need long, careful preparing for different kinds of life-work. Well, our youth surely need earnest and prayerful training for the tremendously important role of future life-mates, home-makers, and parents. So the growing young folks must be carefully taught to respect authority, to fear God, to take responsibility, to show self-control and kindness; yes, to develop that character muscle so lacking in the many homes falling apart all about us.
The boy-girl relationship should always be treated as something very fine and important. To joke about it cheapens it and to tease about it makes youth clam up where they ought to open up for the information and advice they sorely need.
See the beautiful stages in these relations. Holy matrimony is the social holy of holies and engagement is the holy place. Courtship is the temple court. This area of life, thrill-packed and joyful, must be kept serious and high-souled.
Here Christian youth must watch and pray to keep their relations and actions clean as in God‘s sight. A “party for two” must really be for three; for God‘s there and watching closely.
Let no young man use his car, his money, his popularity or persuasion to lower a girl‘s ideals. Using bodily force to sully her, he’d be a criminal but using whatever else he can to compromise her, he’s still a social thug.
And let no girl compete in cheapness or vie in compromise, as seems suggested by the way some snuggle up to their driver–companions. Also the way girls dress is important. I Tim. 2:9 bids women to “adorn themselves in modest apparel.” There are women around who dress daring1y for evil purposes but Christian mothers and maidens must guard carefully in this. Their dress should suggest modesty and purity.
Young men and women, each and together, must watch and pray that they may come clean and fine to their Christian home in God’s good time. Some are cheaters. And they do not get by, but pay heavily. They lose God‘s smile and their own peace of conscience. Marriage relations outside of marriage bring guilt and shame; and the loss of mutual respect and trust without which the foundations of home life are shaky. Youthful romance awakens powerful drives and it needs good brakes carefully used.
The Christian home actually comes into being when prepared Christian mates are joined in holy wedlock.
Here is the union of tenderest intimacy and intricacy; socially, spiritually, and physically; “one flesh” for a life-long pull in close double harness.
Here is the union of noblest loyalty ; forsaking every other; for better or for worse; a union built upon much more than an impulsive “falling in love” which doesn’t have what it takes when the going gets hard.
Here is the union of highest loving service. “By love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13) is the call. Really, marriage is not a 50–50 proposition but a 100–100 deal, a giving to it his whole self for a whole life-time.
As we think of the relationships in the Christian home there is one that stands supreme; the relation to God! The Christian home is keenly God-conscious, living in his fear and favor; in his sight and service.
That makes God the wonderful center, the hub of the wheel, making a beautiful togetherness in the home. In our mobile, distracted society we read and talk about better homes but then use our better cars on our better roads to get away from home too often, too fast, and too far! But God gives our homes a gracious cohesiveness as there his full rule is held high consistently, insistently and persistently.
The relationship of the spouses in the home needs to be well understood, respected, and maintained.
The husband’s place and duty are impressive and well stated in Gen. 18:19 where God says of Abraham that he should “command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah.”
Also in relation to the wife the husband acts as the responsible head of the home, but as God directs: “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church,…“dwelling with them “according to knowledge,…as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life” (Eph. 5:25, I Pet. 3:7)