We often hear of the repercussions of a home without a husband and father—the statistics can be daunting, and the collateral damage is immeasurable.
As the prophet Malachi warns us, the absence of a father brings with it a decree of utter destruction. The facts are indisputable: When a husband leaves the home, the family suffers.
Jesus said, "If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand" (Mark 3:25)
I have lived a very dramatic contrast. I was raised in a house of division, but when I became an adult, my wife, Kay, and I built a home of peace. Our three children are now all married and building their own homes. We have the privilege of seeing each of them navigate the challenges life brings with the faith and perseverance required to secure their homes.
Recently, a friend asked, "Neil, what are the keys you and Kay implemented in building your home?"
Here are five things a husband and father brings into the home:
1. Security. "No one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then, he will plunder his house" (Mark 3:27)
Jesus teaches that the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy (see John 10:10). Your nemesis hates your home. He knows before he can take your possessions, he must first tie you up. He considers you a strong man. You're the protector of the home. You bring to your home a security—a spiritual authority to protect your turf.
If Satan can get you bound or remove you from being the gate of authority to your home, he has full access to ransack your home.
When I was a teenager, our home was robbed. Someone broke into the garage and stole all kinds of equipment, tools and motorcycles. I had two bikes that I raced. They were both taken. If you've ever been robbed, you know the feeling that comes with it—a vulnerability and insecurity that makes you feel violated.
A vital attribute of being a husband is to bring security to the home.
2. Stability. "Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and acts on them will be likened to a foolish man who built his house on the sand" (Matt. 7:26).
The husband brings foundational words, words you can build your life upon. Often times our children will roll their eyes, and our wives may give us a humored grin at our mantras, maxims and adages—but with repetition, these foundational principles help stabilize them.
However, let me encourage you to speak clearly and with conviction. If any of your words matter, all your words matter.
When Zechariah was receiving disturbing messages upon speaking with an angel, the Lord turned to the angel and spoke "good and comforting words" (Zech. 1:13b). It is very revealing to see the character of God in his reassurance of the angel who was speaking with the prophet. Rather than speaking down to or dismissive of the angel, God speaks gentle, reassuring words to him.
In the same way, as husbands and fathers, our words should be kind and comforting, bringing stability to our family's confidence.
3. Culture. The atmosphere you allow in your home becomes the culture of your children.
Kay and I were very careful to maintain a home of peace. We would not allow strife into our home. The Bible says that where there is strife there is every form of evil. I truly believe that strife manifests the presence of evil.
It has become increasingly difficult to monitor the voices allowed to speak into our homes—the internet, smartphones and television have invited influences that are not always in agreement with our belief systems. I'm sure internet filters and monitoring controls for these devices are helpful, but if we do not protect the atmosphere of our homes, we will not see it become a culture for our children.
We don't hear much about culture in the home, but it's very important. Conversation, books, politeness and manners may sound like archaic ideals, but in reality, these can and should become the attributes of our homes.
If you teach your children how to conduct themselves at home, they will have no problem behaving in public.
4. Laughter. My wife purchased decorative letters at Hobby Lobby and hung them in our breakfast room. The huge letters spell out L-A-U-G-H. It was a constant reminder that we should enjoy our home.
With all of the challenges we face as families, this makes a good reminder that laughter is good medicine (Prov. 17:22).
I realize you may be facing some real issues and stresses, but it may really help if you can lighten up a little, especially around your wife and kids.
5. Strength. "Be strong, and show yourself to be a man!" (1 Kings 2:2). Do not attempt to draw your strength from your wife and kids. Don't whine and mumble about the burdens you're carrying. Don't complain every time your children need clothes or something from school.
Go to God and draw your strength from Him, then turn and strengthen your family.
Don't be weak and whiny. Don't put the burden on them. They're children.
"Likewise, you husbands, live considerately with your wives, giving honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they too are also heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered" (1 Pet. 3:7).
Wow! Did you see that? The manner in which you treat your wife can close up the heavens for your prayers.
My wife and I have enjoyed a tremendous relationship. However, early in our marriage, I was upset about something that was happening (I can't remember why). I'm ashamed to say I attempted to get my way by sulking and pouting for a few days. After my morning prayer time, I walked into the kitchen, and Kay looked at me and said, "You're wasting your time praying while you're treating me like this. God isn't going to side with you on this matter."
She was right.
I immediately asked her to forgive me and told her I would not continue to sulk to get my way. I realized my pouting was a childish and weak way to deal with my disappointments. From that day forward, I learned to get my strength from God and strengthen my family from my prayer time.
1. Is your home secure? Do you have a security system? Do you need one? Are you conditioned to protect your home? Are you situationally aware to protect your family? Look for ways to add security to your home without developing a bunker mentality.
2. Do your words strengthen and encourage your family? Are your words flippant and demeaning? Monitor your words for a day and count how many times you speak down to a family member.
3. What kind of television programs are entertaining you? Are you intrigued by murder mysteries? Are you entertained by inappropriate adult relationships? Are you watching too much television?
4. When is that last time you belly-laughed with your family?
5. Strengthen yourself with prayer.
FivestarMan was founded in 2008 by Neil Kennedy. Kennedy has passionately promoted God's Word for 25-plus years of ministry. He is known for practically applying biblical principles that elevate people to a new level of living. As a business, church, ministry and life consultant, Kennedy has helped others strategize the necessary steps to reach their full potential.
For the original article, visit fivestarman.com.