Christianity in Home Life
by Charles Orr
Nowhere is Christianity more beautifully displayed, than in the home. It changes the home of wickedness, strife, and contention — into a peaceful and delightful Eden. It converts the home of the wicked — into a palace. It drives away discontentment, uneasiness, fear, and darkness — and showers contentment, peace, and sunlight into every heart.
Recently we saw some people speaking their testimonies in a public meeting, and telling of the blessedness of salvation. Yet in their homes, we found them irritable, impatient, and contentious, which is very unlike Heaven.
But, thank God, true Christianity brings a Heaven to the home — as well as in the public life. Christianity is Christ in the heart, and where Christ is, there is Heaven; consequently a Christian has a Heaven within him, and he has this Heaven at home as well as abroad. Praise God!
Christianity in home life makes all . . .
love and kindness — between brothers and sisters;
love and dutifulness — between parents and children;
love, peace, harmony, honesty, and faithfulness — between husband and wife.
Christianity makes a home — a Heaven. A Christian home where all is love and tenderness and devotion — is the sweetest and most sacred spot on earth. A home where Christianity is crowned a queen in every heart — is an Eden. The heart of God is filled with delight as he looks down upon such a home. His presence dwells there and causes this home to be a beautiful oasis in this wilderness world of sin. Alas, that such homes are so few! Sin destroys the happiness of man and makes many a home a hotbed of contention, strife, and confusion! Jesus came to put away sin and establish "on earth peace, good will toward men."
The HUSBAND'S Duty to His Wife
The Bible tells man what should be his behavior toward his wife, and a Christian must live and do just what the Bible says, without any modifications. The reader has already agreed with me, that to have a Christian experience — is to live a Christian life.
The husband is to regard the wife as the weaker vessel, and thus give her honor, support, and protection. "Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (1 Peter 3:7)
The husband must look upon his wife with respect, and because of her feminine sensitiveness, have an especial care for her in spiritual things, and be her support in temporal things. Women have trials peculiar to their own gender, and a husband can scarcely be called a husband, much less a Christian, who neglects to console and comfort them, and throw as much joy and sunlight into their lives as possible.
When Hannah wept because she had no son, her husband sought to comfort her with these words: "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" (1 Samuel 1:8) May God help husbands to so dwell with their wives, that when the wife is in discouragement and sorrow — they can cheer them by recounting their love, devotion, and goodness to them — Why is your heart grieved? Am I not good and kind to you?
Husbands must love their wives as themselves. "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church." (Ephesians 5:28-29) The care Jesus exercises in nourishing and cherishing the church — is illustrative of the care the husband should manifest in nourishing and cherishing his wife. "Husbands, love your wives — and do not be bitter against them." (Colossians 3:19) All hasty, sharp, cross, unkind, cutting, bitter words — are forever put away by the Christian husband, who loves his wife. Cross, hasty words — are not the fruit of a Christian spirit; and if you have not ceased from them — God has better things for you.
The WIFE'S Duty to Her Husband
Nowhere is wickedness more greatly revealed — than in a wicked woman — and nowhere is Christianity more beautifully exemplified — than in a pure, chaste woman. "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband." (Proverbs 12:4) "Her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband trusts in her. She will do him good and not evil. all the days of her life." (Proverbs 31:10-12) These words are beautiful and should encourage a wife to a life of faithfulness and devotion — that she may be a crown to her husband, and be valued far above rubies.
The wife who will honor and respect her husband, and seek to please him — will find a joy in her own heart. "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." (Proverbs 31:28)
Wives should love their husbands (Titus 2:4) and respect them: "Let the wife see that she respect her husband." (Ephesians 5:33) The wife is to respect her husband, as the Christian reverences God. To reverence God is to be submissive to Him, and to look upon Him as our Lord and protector, adviser, etc.; to fear and obey Him, yet be in perfect freedom. Such should be the attitude of the wife toward her husband.
"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22) Too few women comprehend the full meaning of this text. Just as the Christian consecrates, resigns, and submits himself to the care and control of God — so the wife is to submit herself to her husband. Just as the Christian leans in loving confidence upon God — so the wife should lean in loving confidence upon her husband; and the husband's conduct toward the wife should be such as would encourage her to trust and confide in him — as God's conduct toward us encourages us to trust and lean upon Him.
When the husband and wife are kind, loving, and gentle toward each other; when she in her weakness feels her dependence upon him, and lovingly, trustingly looks unto him as her defense; and he in his strength and delight folds her in his strong arms of protection with a feeling of responsibility to nourish and cherish her — then they can testify that they have a Heaven in their home.
Unless we have attained unto such a life — we have not attained to Bible Christianity, nor to domestic joy and happiness.
The PARENT'S Duty to Their Children
Most parents believe they love their children — but true Christian love of parents toward children, comprises more than many have understood. They may love them in a sense — but the parent that feels provoked toward the little one and threatens to slap it, calling it some ugly name — he does not love the child with a Christian love. How many fathers and mothers under provocations, are making severe threats to punish their children, at the same time calling them "ugly brats," "little imps," etc. Such parents are not Christians — no matter what may be their profession. They do not comprehend the true nature of Christianity, if they believe themselves to be Christians while having such harsh feelings and using such evil terms toward their children. Christianity is far more beautiful than this!
Parents are commanded to train their children up for God and Heaven: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)
They must teach them God's Word: "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." (Deuteronomy 4:9) "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 11:19) They must tell them of the judgments of God, as given in His Word: "Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." (Joel 1:3)
Parents are to provide for their children: "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family — he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever!" (I Timothy 5:8) Parents who through indolence fail to comfortably clothe and sufficiently feed and give them educational and religious advantages according to the Bible rule — such parents cannot be termed Christians. Parents cannot possibly be Christians and use their money for liquors, tobacco, or amusements — and then fail to comfortably clothe and give their children a sufficiency of wholesome food, or fail to give them proper educational and religious advantages.
Now, elders and deacons are commanded to rule their children well, and have them in subjection with all gravity (I Timothy 3:4,12). Elders are an example to the flock; consequently it follows that all Christians must rule their children well, and have them in subjection. Parents cannot have the approval of God on them — no matter how much they may pray and how active they may be in the religious life — if they allow their children to disobey them and go in the ways of sin!
We have known many parents to pray for the salvation of their children, and all the while were allowing them to attend worldly amusements, dances, etc. Such prayers go unanswered, and such conduct brings the wrath of God upon the parents. For the sake of your soul, and the souls of your children — restrain them from evil ways! Prohibit them attending worldly places of amusement — but take them with you to the house of God.
Great responsibility is laid upon the parents. They have a child whose eternal destiny depends largely upon the training it receives in youthful days. We would love to write much more on the subject — but must forbear, only adding these words of exhortation to every parent: As you value your own, and your children's eternal happiness — get your soul filled with divine love and the Holy Spirit — so that you can set a godly example before your children — and then seek help from God to train them up in the ways of righteousness!
The CHILDREN'S Duty to Their Parents
While it is the duty of the parent to teach his child — God makes it the duty of the child to heed the parent's teaching. "A wise son hears his father's instruction." (Proverbs 13:1) Children are commanded to obey their parents: "Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor your father and mother." (Ephesians 6:1-2) Obedience to parents is well pleasing to God. "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." (Colossians 3:20)
Many boys and girls at the present day are found to utterly disregard their parents' commands and wishes. Such children have not yet experienced the power of regeneration — no matter how many church meetings they attend! Children, God commands you to love, honor, and obey your parents — and unless your faith causes you to do as He commands — you have no promise of Heaven.
"Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD." Psalm 128:1-4