Many things compete with God for first place in our life. Sports activities conflict with Sunday worship. A service project sounds like a great opportunity, but who can afford to take the time off from work? There is too much homework to do to make it to youth group. The social calendar makes it difficult to sit down together as a family to have devotions. All good things, but they compete for priority in our life. The decisions that we make will display our priorities.
When Jesus was asked about which commandment was most important, Jesus answered that loving God above all was the first and greatest commandment. Our homes should model a love of God above all other things. In Joshua 24 the people of Israel are instructed to decide who they are going to serve:
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The priority in our homes should be to honor God, but what does that look like? How do we honor God by the way that we live each day?
Our passions guide our actions. Choose passions that honor God instead of competing with your faith. Choose priorities that will matter in ten or twenty years. We need to make clear decisions about where our allegiance lies. Let your faith be the guiding passion over any other interests. Today's pressures and opportunities seem so urgent, as if there's time for important things later. The idols of our culture can be easily absorbed, and God winds up taking a back seat to the many things that call for our attention. Guard your family against the idols of culture such as busyness, independence, and consumerism. All of these can take ownership of our time and attention and distract us from worship of God. Our priorities can be seen in how we spend our time and how we spend our money.
Choose to give God praise by worshiping him as a family. Time spent in worship unites us together before God. When we spend time discussing scripture around the table or bowing our heads in prayer, it unites us to God and to each other. Worship is more than just going to church; it is taking advantage of opportunities to point our families to God. Beginning and ending the day in prayer and devotion is an excellent way to remind us of who is really in charge. Time spent praising God while riding in the car can bring joy to your day. All these habits of drawing near to God connect us with him and his purpose for us.
Let your home be a place where God's name is never taken in vain. It does not honor God to have his name used as profanity. Choose to honor God’s name by using it with reverence instead of as a curse. Set the example of reverence for God by the way that you guard your speech. Teach your family to respect God's name and model how to approach God in prayer. Prayer is our opportunity to call on God’s name and draw near to his presence. As a Christian, your bear God's name in public. Be sure your behavior honors his reputation.
Our love for God is displayed in how we live. I John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” God’s commands are guidelines meant to bless us not restrict us. If we profess that we love God than it should be evident by the way that we live in relationship to others. We only show hypocrisy if we throw aside our beliefs when they are not convenient. Let your life point others to God.
Choose to place God first in the life of your family. Our homes run better when our priorities are in sync with the heart of God!
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Deb Koster