Our home has rules. The rules are often broken, re-arranged, stretched, modified, and broken again. But we have them, because our amazing God demands these rules to be in place in the Christian home. It breaks my heart when our children disobey these rules because they are in defiance of me as a parent and in defiance of the God that, hopefully, they will one day serve. I know that this defiance however, is a part of their growth; it is part of the character that is being established into their beings. As a parent, I know that I cannot back down from the commandments of my Lord in order to ease the lives of my children by not being as hard on them. So we have rules. I struggle with them, but it makes our home complete. It makes our home safe, comfortable, and firm. The rules of our home are shaping future believers, future servants in Christ Jesus. And even though I’m human, I try my best to imitate my Father and His expectations to my children in honor of the One who has set me free from the rule of sin.
Most Christian homes have rules as well. Turn off all the lights when you leave. Do not slam doors. Beds are not trampolines. Don’t leave wet towels on the floor. Share. Clean. Pick up. Be on time. Don’t spit toothpaste on the faucet. No running in the house. Respect others and yourself. These rules are all great and teach wonderful manners and respect of persons, but as Christians, are we raising the bar, so to speak, with the way our home is run? Are we implementing Christ in the rules that we set in our homes?
I have decided to take the “whatever” approach to the rules in my home. Yeah, that’s right, I want my children to do “whatever,” whenever. Sound crazy? Maybe so, but I want my children to learn the “whatever” way of life, and think on it each and every day. I admit, I have not done this yet, but I am waiting for the light bulb moment to hit in the creativity department and have these “whatever” rules proudly displayed in my home as a reminder each and every day.
“Finally my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
This verse has been an anchor for me when I think about the things I let into my home. If a magazine, movie, event, video game, or iPod app does not comply with this verse, it does not enter my home. But while thinking about what I was going to write for the topic this week, this verse got me thinking about the many rules I have in my home, and how at times, they are too hard to grasp. This has been on my mind and I have been struggling with this in my heart over the past few months of summer vacation. The rules I have in place for my home are just not working. Our home is frustrated and complicated with my rules and chore charts. Reading this verse again and again, it hit me. This verse needs to be our home rules. Everything I expect of myself, my husband, and my children is wrapped into this verse. I don’t want us to just think upon these things as the verse mentions, I want us to practice these things as well. Whatever is true- lying in my home is never an option. Whatever is honorable- take care of this home and the things, and people in it. Whatever is just- wrong doing will be punished. Whatever is pure- we will love and respect and honor each other in this home. Whatever is lovely- we will love with open hearts everyone who steps foot into our home. If anything is worthy of praise- if we see something that needs to be done, we will do it, without being asked. Do these things. That sounds nice doesn’t it? Pair that verse with “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:26), and you have the whole duty of man wrapped into these two principals.
I feel as if we try so hard to run our homes in such a way that at times, the rules and the expectations are too hard for little hearts to follow. They forget, they rebel, they disobey. We need to keep our expectations simple. We need to help them develop a deep love for the Father, a deep love for their neighbors, and do “whatever” to follow Him. We, as parents, must do these things as well, because if we do not follow these principals, then our children will not follow them. It is our duty to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and to guard the hearts and minds of our children’s heart in Him too.
I ask you to take a look, as I have, at the way you run your home. Simplify your home rules if needed, so that everyone may be able to follow them. Modify your home rules to match the commands of our Maker, and practice His just ways when the rules are broken. Our Christian homes are a haven from the world and its influences; do not let the world in. Keep your homes safe in His commands, and do not stand for anything that does not fall under the “whatever” rule.
“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
By Ashley Hudson
Ashley Hudson serves as Come Fill Your Cup’s Marketing & Publicity Manager. She and her family worship at the Madill church of Christ in Madill, OK where her husband, Jake, is the pulpit minister. She is a stay-at-home-mom with three children who enjoys photography as well as speaking and writing. Be sure to check out her blog at www.hudsonfive.wordpress.com