The most important place on earth not the Oval Office, the Pentagon, or the Kremlin. It’s not Wall Street. It’s not St. Peter’s Basilica or St. Paul’s Cathedral or the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It’s not even the local church. The most important place on earth is your home. It is the Christian home. Long before God ordained the nations or established the local church, He founded a family. This is where God wants us to build our marriages and raise our children and live our lives. It’s the fountainhead for everything else in our culture. As goes the family, so goes the nation and so goes the world. Ecclesiastes 9:9 says: “Life is short, and you love your wife, so enjoy being with her” (CEV). The book of Hebrews if filled with verses that speak to home life, and there are four passages that have special relevance in building a better marriage.
1. We Have to Stay Pure
Hebrews 13:4 says: Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
We’ve been following the news from California about the impending collapse of the Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States. If that dam breaks, the flooding would engulf one town after another downstream. The dam of immorality is breaking in the Western world, and we are engulfed in a flood of immorality that flows like a raging river onto our cell phones and computer screens. We have to sandbag our homes and our hearts, whatever the cost.
There are three ways to keep our marriages pure.
- Physical intimacy. God created marriage as a place where intimacy and physical love is vital. And according to 1 Corinthians 7, this expression of intimacy should be taking place regularly. First Corinthians 7:5 says: “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your like of self-control.” When a couple maintains a healthy physical relationship, it reduces the pressures that cause trouble.
- Openness and honesty with a trusted friend or small group outside of the marriage. Men especially really need a Christian brother or handful of brothers with whom they can be honest and open. They can check up on each other. This is part of what a church should be about—providing mutual support for each other.
- The most important way to keep marriage pure is rediscover the biblical truth of the holiness of Almighty God. We tend to compare ourselves with our culture around us, but our true standard is the holy God, who is awesome in purity. As we grow in our relationship with Him and with His Word, sin becomes more repulsive and we have a growing desire to live lives that reflect His character, His purity, and His holiness.
2. We Have to Stay Positive
Hebrews 3:12-13 says, See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sins.
Look at that: “Encourage one another daily.” That would be a good verse to put over your breakfast table or hang over the kitchen sink. Have you been encouraging your husband daily, or your wife daily? We live in a brutalizing, critical, dehumanizing world, and when we come home we need a positive environment.
3. We Have To Stay Prayerful
Hebrews 4:16: Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
If you want to change your husband or wife or children, the most important ingredient is prayer. Pray Scripture into them. The great missionary, J. Hudson Taylor, had a principle he followed throughout his life: “Move Man, Through God, By Prayer Alone.”
4. We Have to Persevere
Hebrews 10:36: You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.
In any marriage there are two people who are not equally mature. At any given moment, they may not even be equally committed to doing the things that make for a good marriage. Sometimes the wife is more diligent than the husband; other times the husband is working harder on the marriage then the wife. You cannot be totally responsible for the other person. You cannot make the decisions for the other person. You can’t even change the other person as much as you would like to do so. But you can keep your eyes on Christ. You can let Him meet your deepest needs. And by His grace, you can persevere. Don’t give up on your marriage. Don’t give up on your home. Don’t give up on your children.
Life is short, and God wants our homes to thrive in times likes these. And for that to happen, we have to stay pure, positive, prayerful, and persevering. But it’s worth it, because the home is the most important place on earth.
PS – I’m indebted to Robert Wolgemuth for the title of his blog. It comes from his very readable and practical book on what a Christian home looks like and how to build one. The title of the book is The Most Important Place on Earth. Also, the picture at the top of this blog is the cabin my father built for my grandmother in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, and which was later renovated to become Roan Mountain Bed and Breakfast. The painting was done by my friend, Ken Simmelink, and you can view more of his paintings at www.kens-paintings.com.