I remember as a nineteen-year-old, newly-married husband driving home from work and asking the Lord to cleanse my mind of the language I had heard on the job site that day. I sang, quoted Scripture, and asked God to wash my mind of the vulgarities of the day. I hated the thought of any of that language slipping out into conversation with Terrie.
It’s been almost forty years since those days of working that particular job, but the memory of those drives home came back to me clearly this week as I was studying Ephesians 5 and came to verse 26, speaking of Christ and the church: “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
The larger passage reveals that Christian marriages are to be a picture of the gospel, particularly of the self-sacrificing and sanctifying love Christ has for the church. (I preached on these truths on Sunday. You can watch the message here.)
But there is an important application for Christian homes in that husbands and wives need to be growing in grace and being spiritually cleaned through God’s Word renewing their hearts, minds, and home.
What does this look like on a practical level? How can Christian families, and parents in particular, keep their home clean from the influences that would seek to defile their children’s hearts and minds?
Here are four simple—but significant—biblical applications of how you can sanctify your family.
Conduct regular family devotions.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, keeping it simple will help you stay consistent. Just purpose to take some time every day to teach the Word of God to your children.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…—Deuteronomy 6:6–7
In our home, this was usually me reading a chapter or a few verses from Proverbs during breakfast. I wanted to give our kids truths to carry throughout their day.
However you do it, let your children hear you talk about God and about the Word of God.
Faithfully attend church.
A Bible-preaching church is a wonderful gift to the Christian home. It is designed by God to be a necessary component of the maturing Christian life (Ephesians 4:11–12), and it can be a place of support for godly parents, reenforcing Bible teaching as they raise their families for the Lord.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.—Hebrews 10:25
It’s wonderful when a church has a great music program, fellowship for all ages, and various programs to offer a family. But the most important aspect of a local church for your family is the preaching of God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:2).It’s wonderful when a church has a great music program, fellowship for all ages, and various programs to offer a family. But the most important aspect of a local church for your family is the preaching of God’s Word. Click To Tweet
So stay in a Bible-preaching church. And be faithful with your family to the preaching services.
Establish internet guidelines.
Satan is tricky, and he will work to tempt your children in all kinds of ways. But one of the most subtle—and common—is through a screen.Satan is tricky, and he will work to tempt your children in all kinds of ways. But one of the most subtle—and common—is through a screen. Click To Tweet
Whether you have shared passwords, accountability software, screens turned toward the family room, limited access on phones, or something else…be sure that you know what your children are doing online.
What we see can powerfully affect us. And this is especially true when it comes to the formative mind and conscience of a child.
Of course this means that you also need to guard your eyes and walk in purity.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.—Psalm 101:3
For your family, make sure that you establish guidelines, including what language or scenes will cause a movie or television program to be turned off, what accountability and accessibility is in place, and what a child is to do when he unintentionally sees something he shouldn’t have.
Set boundaries for your children.
These boundaries will look different in every home. And Christian parents shouldn’t look down on others or try to police the homes of others. The point is to establish boundaries to protect your own home.
Care enough about the hearts of your children and be alert enough to the dangers of the world, the flesh, and the devil, that you study God’s Word and make application from it for how you will honor God in your home.Care enough about the hearts of your children and be alert enough to the dangers of the world, the flesh, and the devil, that you study God’s Word and make application from it for how you will honor God in your home. Click To Tweet
In a passage describing what it means to walk as children of the light, Romans 13 tells us that just as surely as we must identify with Christ, we must also purposefully avoid opportunity to fulfill the lusts of sin.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.—Romans 13:14
Once again, the point here is not that every Christian home will look identical in the boundaries that they set. (I can think of several boundaries we had in our home that other Christian families have not had, and vice versa.) The point is that you as parents are aware of the need for boundaries and that you proactively set them and lovingly, but firmly, hold to them.
What Makes a Christian Home
It’s worth mentioning here that “the washing of water by the word” mentioned in Ephesians 5:26 does not speak of Christ making the church His bride, but of His continued commitment to the church after He already “gave himself for it” (verse 25).
Even so, a home is not a Christian home simply because the parents read the Bible to their children or establish guidelines for their home.
If you are a Christian parent, I encourage you to infuse your home with God’s Word—in devotions, through attending church, and through the practical application of Scripture to your everyday life.