Ingredients for a Healthy Home
I love Fall for lots of reasons, but especially because of the delicious comfort foods that come back with cooler weather. It is no secret that I have been trying to eat “healthier” these days, but it is not easy to make some of the good, fall, comfort foods in a healthy way, especially desserts. There are not a lot of good substitutes for butter, cheese, sugar and cream! If you leave those ingredients out of most desserts, or try to substitute anything else for them, there is something clearly missing.
So what are the ingredients for a healthy home? There is a perfect recipe for a healthy home in Colossians 3:18-21. In this text, Paul offers four essential ingredients that make a great family! It is important to follow this recipe closely and to avoid trying any substitutes. Culture may press for substitutes, but God’s recipe is best!
Four Ingredients for a Healthy Home
1. Wife submits to her husband. 18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18
This text may get some pushback in our society; but if so, it is because there is misunderstanding about what it means for a wife to submit to her husband. The truth is, “submission” plays a big role in all our lives, especially for Believers. If you’re a Believer, male or female, you submit first and foremost to God. (James 4:7)
But Paul also makes clear that wives are to submit to husbands. In fact, he adds more detail in the letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 5:22-24). This passage gives us some vital insights about what a wife’s submission is and is not…
- A wife is to submit to one man (her husband), not to every man.
- A wife is to willingly submit to her husband in personal obedience to Christ.
- A wife is to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ.
Submit is not a bad word. To be clear, submission is not a reflection of inferiority or lesser worth. It doesn’t mean a wife is willing to do something illegal or sinful. It doesn’t mean she can be abused in any way or that a husband can be domineering or selfish. A husband is to exercise his authority wisely, graciously and fearfully before the Lord, to whom he is fully accountable. Ultimately, submission is a natural response to loving leadership.
2. Husband loves his wife. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Colossians 3:19
The word love here in the original language is a form of the word “agape”, which is God’s kind of love. It is a love that is selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional. In Ephesians 5, Paul makes clear that a husband’s love for his wife is the kind that would lay down his life for her. (Eph. 5:25-27). To love our wives like that is to want the very best for her and a willingness to do whatever that takes. This kind of love always involves sacrifice and selflessness.
The Bible is a practical way to gauge the authenticity of a husband’s love for his wife… 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. Eph. 5:28a. Question: Husbands, are you caring for your wife’s needs in the same way you care for your needs? Are you just as concerned about her needs as you are your own, and hopefully more so?
3. Children obey their parents. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20
Obedience is a biblical principle. Our Heavenly Father expects obedience from us as His children. And if you are a parent, it is appropriate to expect obedience from your children. Obedience is not an option; it is an expectation and it made God’s Top 10 list. (Exodus 20:12)
This command comes with a promise. Paul says children are to obey parents… 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:3. The implication is clear, disobeying parents does not work out well!
There is a dangerous trend in culture for parents to “befriend” their teenage children. To be clear, children don’t need parents to be their best friends; they need parents to parent them and provide clear boundaries and defined expectations when they are under our roofs.
The word “honor” in the child/parent relationship has to do with an attitude of respect toward parents; so grudging obedience is not ok. Just like God wants us to obey Him not because we have to, but because we want to, parents want children to obey them not because they have to, but because they want to. So how do we instill that kind of respect or honor in our children? That involves this final ingredient…
4. Parents encourage their children. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:21
There are two key words to note in this verse: embitter and discourage. Embitter means “to irritate or arouse feelings such as anger, hurt, shame, and fear to the point of exasperation.” The picture here is of an overbearing disciplinarian who constantly corrects and rebukes a child for every little mistake or wrong. This will embitter a child.
The word discouraged is found only here in the New Testament. It speaks of becoming disheartened or “losing spirit.” This is a picture of children who resign themselves to never being able to please their parents so they just give up. We don’t want to drive our children there. We want our children to know we love them and that we want the very best for them; this is why we establish expectations and demand obedience. And the truth is, children really need and want that from their parents!
For much more, click here to listen to: Steadfast: Part 8 - Recipe for a Healthy Family.