The definition of a Christian home has nothing to do with how it is decorated or where it is located. Find out what does matter here…
The Christian Home And a Child’s Testimony
“I grew up in a Christian home…” is the way many beautiful redemptive testimonies of the Gospel’s transformative power begin. Mine starts this way. But in our recent discussions about homemaking (check it out here!) we have talked some about what a home is and what it should be but we haven’t yet defined what a Christian home is. What makes a home distinctly “Christian”? Is there something unique about the structure itself? Is it because the home is located in a “Christian nation”? Is it because the neighbors are Christians? Is it because it is decorated a certain way or is in a “good” neighborhood?
Or is it something unseen? Something that lives on in the life of the home and comes out in myriad ways through word and deed?
I believe the answer comes down to two things:
1. The faith of the caregivers
The reason I can say that I grew up in a Christian home is largely because both of my parents claimed the Gospel as their own and lived with that in view. I saw them reading their Bibles, singing Christian music, attending Bible studies, being actively involved in local churches, and responding to various situations out of their faith. When incredibly difficult times came my parents fell back on God’s mercy and ultimate control in every situation. I watched them do that.
My home growing up was a Christian home because my parents were Christians.
There was nothing special about any of the houses we lived in that set them apart from any other home in our neighborhood but the faith in our home ran deeper than a Bible on a shelf or an occasional church service attended.
No parent is perfect but God can use us in amazing ways to raise children who love and fear God if we take our faith seriously.
If we want our children’s testimonies of faith when they are older to attest to growing up in a “Christian” home, we need to act like Christians today.
If you are confused by what I mean when I say that, check out this post from Desiring God.
2. Whether or not that faith is intentionally imparted to children
I know some people who claim the name of Christ but also say “I don’t want to force my ideals on my children.” While I can appreciate the sentiment of not pressuring our children, that is not the same as clearly communicating and teaching the truths of Scripture.
A home is not a “Christian” home unless the caregivers intentionally pass along their knowledge and love for God.
As parents, we cannot produce faith in our children. That is a job only the Holy Spirit can do. BUT we can give plenty of invitations. We can teach and explain the Gospel day in and day out to our children. We love our children well by teaching them about the Author of love – the One Who is love incarnate (1 John 4:8).
Scripture commands that we teach our children the It’s truths (check out this post for a defense of that). As parents, this is our primary job. Our primary parenting goal should NOT be that our children become star athletes, fantastic academics, or talented musicians. Our primary goal in parenting should be that our children know about Christ from what they hear us teach and what they see us live. They should see us in the Word daily ourselves and they should be walked through the Scriptures by us daily (check out this post for some ideas on how to do that!).
Our children need to see us love the Word of God and serve the God of the Word and they need to be invited into that and taught all along the way.
Definition of a “Christian Home”
So what is it that makes a home “Christian”? It is living near a church? Having some Christian signs around the house or a Bible on the shelf?
No, it is none of those things. A distinctly “Christian” home is Christian because the people in charge love and honor Christ with their lives. They seek to live in a way consistent with their faith and when they wander, they are quick to seek forgiveness. A distinctly “Christian” home is also Christian because the people in charge are honored to share their faith with everyone else who inhabits the home whether for a day or many years.
Consider this a privilege friend. God has brought subjects of our evangelism right into the walls of our homes and they watch our every move. We must exalt Christ in our lives and our speech!
For our family, a regular time of family worship has been so helpful in this! It has allowed us the opportunity to teach our children and to worship alongside them. We are praying it bears fruit for the long term and have heard so many stories about the cumulative effect of this kind of parental faithfulness! It can be hard to sort through though, especially when you have young children. Check out this post for more about what our family has done to make family worship a helpful time in our home even though we have young children! << Family Devotions with Young Children – The Whys and Hows >>