The first place we live out the gospel is in our homes.A simple statement, yet amazingly profound and instructive—encouraging and convicting. For our children, how we live out the gospel at home will give them a lasting impression of what it means to be a sinner saved by grace and a disciple of Christ. Bettis goes on to say:
If we’re honest, however, home is often the most challenging place to live out the gospel’s implications. We say things to our children that we would never say to anyone else. We express anger to our spouses that we hide from others. Laziness others don’t see is obvious to them. Family relationships, which God intended to be a blessing, can become a war zone.These words are from Bettis’ article, “Home Is the Front Lines of Christian Living.” To help parents strive toward living out the Gospel in our homes, Mr. Bettis provides parents with five practical steps to take. Here is a summary:
- Receive your children and spouse as God-given instruments to shape you into Christlikeness.
Trust that God is working in small (or large) family trials to conform you to Jesus.
- Slow down and observe your own actions and reactions.
When our families are running from event to event, it’s easy to minimize self-reflection. Blowups are quickly forgotten. Slowing your pace of life allows for deeper self-reflection.
- Stop excusing your sin.
It is easy to blame our reactions on others. But we must realize no one causes us to sin. How we treat our families exposes our “real” selves and how much we love God (1 John 4:20). Even when we’re sinned against, we can still learn to please our heavenly Father (1 Pet. 2:23; 3:9).
- Search the Scriptures.
The Bible speaks to the issues you’re facing at home. Simply reading James 1 with your family in mind, for example, will remind you that you need wisdom, as well as the need to remain steadfast in trial, to be slow to speak, to be a doer of the Word, and to bridle your tongue.
- Know your children are watching.
Hypocrisy from spiritual leaders—including parents—is the number one reason prodigals give for leaving the faith. Our children are watching how we act under the pressures of home to see if our Savior makes a real difference in our lives.