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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN


There’s No Place Like Home

How are things at your house? Henry Youngman asks, "Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who will give you a little love, a little affection, and a little tenderness? It means you are in the wrong house!" Almost all of us have heard the adage, "There's no place like home." Scripture and social science testify to the undeniable truth of that statement. For good or ill, no place and no people impact us like those at home. The quality of our home life can make us or break us, hurt us or heal us. More than perhaps any other single factor, how things are in a home impacts how things will be for the people who live together in that home. Be careful to note the subject under consideration is the home, not the house. The house may look like a dream on the outside even as life for those inside it has become a nightmare. Rodney Dangerfield said, "My wife and I were happy foren we met." Funny, but also sadly true for many men and women. Life inside a home will be as good or as bad, as strong or as weak, as healthy or as unhealthy as the people who make it up. It is not the house that shapes the happiness, stability, and emotional and spiritual well-being of the people who live in it. Rather it is the home itself— that is, the cumulative sum of characteristics, personalities, priorities, values, attitudes, actions and behavior of the people who make it up — that determines, more than anything else, the quality of home, family and married life. The crying need in America at this very hour is not more model houses but more model homes. Poet William Cowper called the home "the only bliss of Paradise that has survived the fall." True enough when home life is as God designed it to be. The Original Blueprint for the home still states, "Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain" (Psalm 127:1). Many homes today are neither built nor maintained according to God's Word. In the worst case scenarios, abuse, addiction, and abandonment make some homes more like outposts of hell than a foretaste of Heaven.

A house, someone observed, is built by human hands, but a home is built by human hearts. Do you live in a house or a home? Ephesians 5:18-6:4 sketches out God's plan for insuring that your family will live in a home and not just a house. Note this scan of the various attitudes, roles, relationships, and behaviors in a home where God guides and abides: joy, spirituality, and happiness (5:18-19); gratitude instead of grumbling and complaining (5:20); mutual submission, cooperation, and a "team attitude" instead of "it's all about me" (5:21-24); love and selfless giving modeled on Jesus' example (5:25); concern for moral purity and holiness (5:26-27); emotional nourishment where every family member is appreciated, affirmed, cherished, and valued (5:28-29); intimacy, unity, devotion to others (5:30-32); respect, courtesy, obedience, honor, well-being, training, teaching, nurture, loving discipline, concern for the Lord's and His will and way (5:33-6:3). No matter the kind of house, there's no place like that home!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ