Friday, March 9, 2012

The Spirit of the Christian Household

I will be reviewing Trained in the Fear of God on Monday.  Until then I thought you could benefit from a rather lengthy sample.  This is from Peter R. Schemm Jr.’s contribution:

I once thought that the defining mark of a Christian home was “family worship” in the living room every evening[1].I would not have put it that way at the time, of course. Yet I have since realized that I was far too invested in performing the act of family worship as a measure of my success as a father. I possessed the spirit of a Pharisee-and few attitudes are more unhelpful to the Gospel of Jesus than such a spirit. It is the spirit of one who works to impress God and others through religious achievements. It is the spirit of self-justification. It is not the spirit of a Christian household.

By the spirit of the Christian household, I mean something closer to what Dallas Willard suggests in his book The Spirit of the Disciplines. He says,

The spirit of the disciplines-that which moves us to them and moves through them to prevent them from becoming a new bondage and to deepen constantly our union with the heart and mind of God-is [our] love of Jesus, with its steadfast longing and resolute will to be like him.[2]

Spiritual habits and disciplines are hollow apart from a genuine love and affection for Jesus Christ. They tend to take on a “new bondage” and become a means to seek an evil and enslaving endpoint instead.

The spirit of the Christian household is inspired by the love of God whom “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). It is a disposition that consistently reflects God’s love through grace and forgiveness. This disposition moves us to and through the habits proposed below. Our habits and disciplines, founded on the love of God, become a good means to a greater end. They form and transform our families into redemptive communities. These habits and disciplines train not only children but also fathers and mothers, to repent of specific things such as anger and demanding expectations. Paul Tripp describes it this way, “As we-parents and children alike-face our need as sinners, the family becomes a truly redemptive community where the themes of grace, forgiveness, deliverance from sin, reconciliation, new life in Christ, and hope become the central themes of family life.”[3] In a word, the spirit of the Christian household is a spirit of redemption.

Fortunately I didn’t have to type all of that out.  I did a search to see if I could find this quote somewhere else.  Looks like the Family Ministry Today blog thought this selection was worthy of quoting as well.  Credit to them for typing all that out.  Lot’s of good stuff at that blog.  Check it out: Family Ministry Today.

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