Living Simply with Family
In the sermon yesterday (listen here) we finished up our series on Living Simply. We talked about something the writers of the Proverbs address a lot, that is family life. The truth is that family life can be a source of great joy, but it can also be filled with chaos that seems to complicate it. So, how can we live simply with family? And if we do, what will be the result?
A simplified home life creates a life of strength and stability that leads to joy!
But to live simply, we have to hold to a simple dream, or vision of what family can and should be. It’s not about the things we own or the activities we participate in. We need a vision, or desire to have our families be strong, stable, secure and a source of joy.
1. Wisdom at home gives strength.
Proverbs 24:3-4 3 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
This is not just that common-sense kind of wisdom. It is a wisdom that is learned by living under the leadership of God. This is the wisdom that James wrote about in (James 3:13-17). It is given by God and it has a unique character to it. It is full of mercy and good fruit.
Wisdom builds a home. It establishes a home. It fills a home with rare and beautiful treasures that can’t ever be taken away.
If we want to pursue this kind of family life, we must pursue wisdom.
In this sermon series we talked about a lot of different aspects to wisdom. We covered honesty, compassion, patience, money, work, humility and sobriety. But what kind of wise things should we pursue in our families?
2. Wisdom at home required living with two primary goals.
The first is that we must adopt the goal of teaching wisdom to our children.
A God-given role of parents is to teach wisdom to children. And when we do and our kids get it, we find great joy!
Proverbs 23:23-26 says, 23 Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. 24 The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. 25 May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!
Each parent should obtain wisdom for their families. And then each must pass it along. The proverb gives the picture, from wise father to wise son. And when the cycle is complete it brings joy to Mom and Dad.
We clutter our lives with all kinds of activities and priorities. But this should be the first! And remember, this isn’t just giving our kids street smarts, it is helping them learn to live under the leadership of God.
The second goal we must adopt is spoken of a lot in the book of Proverbs, it is the goal of fidelity.
Fidelity is vital for a joyful home. We must be true to our covenants. When we are our families reap a wonderful benefit – stability and trust. There are a lot of things we can do, but the most important is for husbands to be true to their wives. And wives to be true to their husbands.
The warning of Proverbs is that infidelity is dangerous! Proverbs 23:26-28 says, 26 My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways, 27 for a prostitute is a deep pit and a wayward wife is a narrow well. 28 Like a bandit she lies in wait, and multiplies the unfaithful among men.
The danger is out there! But look how he tells his son to avoid the danger. “Give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.” He is saying, “Son, adopt my values and live the life I’ve lived before you.” He’s been true and he’s calling his son to follow him. The truth is that kids who see fidelity at home have the better chance to be true in their own relationships.
How do we nurture fidelity? In Proverbs 5:15-19, the writer says, “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams in the public squares? 17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. 18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.”
Find your source of joy and love in the partner that God has given you! And which partner is that? The one you have now.
This is a commitment to keep your intimacies for one another, physically, mentally and emotionally.
When we are true and when we teach God’s wisdom in the home, life becomes simpler. We’re not tempted to chase after the things that don’t last. Nor will we fall for the the things that only bring greater chaos. Life is simpler and our families become a source of enduring joy.
Here are a couple questions that came in after the message by text:
Q1: What do we do with “truth” from this world? Psychology has plenty to say about how we raise our kids, etc. How much of God’s truth can we discern from His ordering of the world?
A1: That’s a good question and not easily answered. But I believe psychology can teach us a lot about how people work. Like you’ve mentioned, it is part of General Revelation. We can discern patterns and traits by observing and learning. And so this can give us insight as to how to do our job better. But the job remains the same. We are to live wisely under the leadership of God. And we are to pass wisdom to our children, about how to live under the leadership of God. And I would say that mosts psychologists would agree that a strong, stable, secure home is a much healthier environment for any child growing up. And experience confirms the proverb that a wise child brings parents great joy!
Q2: What does wisdom look like in the home of a single person or a couple without children?
A2: This also is a great question. I think being wise in the other areas (honesty, sobriety, etc.) still simplifies their lives. But in terms of these specific family goals, being a wise influence still plays a role. Whether we have children or not, we have influence. It may be as an uncle, or aunt, cousin, or influential friend. These people need to see the outworking of wisdom in our lives. And fidelity plays a significant role. As a single person, you are called to be true to God. This means to be chaste. This commitment speaks volumes to our world. And for the couple, fidelity over time may even be more difficult because you don’t have the extra motivation of “the kids.” But you too, will be a witness to the power of God’s wisdom.