Cultural Indicators That Jesus is King of Your Castle
His kingdom is the first priority
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
This key verse in Matthew summarizes the whole Christian home culture well. There is a higher purpose to the family than just the family itself. Too many families fail on this point when they elevate the purpose of the family to be the family or the success of the family. We will talk about this more in the coming weeks. Marriages fail when the marriage is the first priority of the marriage. No marriage can sustain that high of an expectation and it devastates the couple when the marriage fails to deliver. Family is the same. Make your family the purpose of your family and it can only deeply disappoint. God designed family to be deeply satisfying as long as the family is not looked to as an ultimate standard.
Here Matthew 6:33 is so helpful. “Seek first the kingdom of God.” The emphasis is on first. A Christian family must provide for itself and a thousand other “seekings.” But nothing else is more important than God’s kingdom and purposes. Does everybody in your home know the big purpose of your home? I’m convinced that one massive failure for so many is that we never verbalize these things. We rarely talk about them. We think it just falls from the ceiling into hearts. Can I urge you to find a way to make it clear? Maybe have a family pow-wow and say, Kids, we just want to make something clearer than we have in the past. We desire our home to be a Christian home where glorifying Jesus is the most important thing to us. Can you just say that? I know some families who paint these things on the wall. That’s one way to make sure nobody misses it. Here are a couple great kingdom family verses:
“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” (Psalm 34:3)
“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
What do you think Joshua’s wife and kids thought as he boldly said that? What’s he talking about? We’ve never heard that before! Or did they nod their heads knowing already that serving and seeking the Lord was the first priority of their home? Yeah, we got that about the third lap around Jericho.
Some of you singles imagine God honoring your marriages even though you are dating someone who isn’t a Christian. How are you going to possibly say to your spouse, “Let us exalt his name together?” That can’t and won’t happen. Dump him or her and find someone who gets excited at the prospect of honoring Jesus with you for as long as you both shall live.
Self-giving love is the norm
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
By God’s common grace, sacrificial love is common to Christian and non-Christian families alike. This is one reason family life is treasured the world over. But where love is absent from a home, there we can say kingdom culture is also absent. “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” (1 John 2:9–10) Kingdom love is not just niceness. There are families like that. They just are perpetually nice but never real and never address conflict. The hot lava is always flowing just under the surface.
Kingdom love is the King’s love. Agape. Serving love. Dying-to-self-type love just as that demonstrated by the King who died for us. Self-giving-for-the-joy-of-the-other-type love. Family relationships test every day whether I will be self-oriented or others-oriented. In a kingdom family, others-orientation is the norm.
That’s the norm, but why isn’t it always that way? When do we need self-giving love the most? When the dishes need to be done or when we have been offended, wronged, ignored, or slandered.
Here is where the King’s values can change a home so much. In 1 Peter 3:1-2 we see the power of just one wife living “Christianly” in the home. That so represents the truth of the gospel that a husband can hardly deny its reality as she loves him unconditionally with the same love she discovered through Christ. Our home culture could be so dramatically changed by the infusion of gospel love into our relationships and how we treat each other. Strive for that today and see what happens.
 Some seed thoughts from Anthony Bradley found in Chapter 9, “The Kingdom Today,” p. 229ff., in The Kingdom of God, ed. by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2017 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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