FAITH, Season 3, Episode 14, "Signs of a Spiritual Home" audio podcast by award-winning western author Stephen Bly. Recorded at Fillmore Bible Church, Fillmore, California, 1984. Sponsored by BlyBooks.com Legacy Series.
"What Makes a Spiritual Home?" blog post article found here: https://www.blybooks.com/2023/04/spiritual-home/
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SIGNS OF A SPIRITUAL HOME
Recorded at Fillmore Bible Church, Fillmore, California
Old Testament Reading
Psalm 51:10-19 … “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee.
Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Thy praise. For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
By Thy favor do good to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then Thou wilt delight in righteous sacrifices, in burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then young bulls will be offered on Thine altar.
New Testament Reading
1 Corinthians 2:6-16 … “yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, ‘Things which eyes has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
“Father in Heaven, I do pray that we will have your Spirit so that we might understand, for that we might indeed have Your mind and hear Your words and apply them to our lives and to our families. For I pray it in Jesus Name, Amen.”
Preaching Too Well
Sometimes maybe it’s possible to preach too well, to convince people too thoroughly of what you say. Just in the last couple of weeks, I had a conversation with my son, Russell. He said to me, “Dad, I really like this series on family life.”
And I said, “Boy, that’s great,” because I could imagine a clean room, all the chores he was ready to do. I continued, “I’m glad you enjoyed this series. What does it make you want to do?”
And he said, “I’m going to get married.”
And sure enough, now he’s engaged to get married in April. That’s why I think that sometimes you can preach too well.
This morning I was going to talk to you about the joys of having children, but I threw that out. Let’s look at another subject instead. I want to address family life that works, especially in the area of spirituality.
What makes a spiritual home?
True or False Quiz
A spiritual home is one in which …
… there are at least three pictures of Jesus on the wall.
… there is a pulpit in the living room.
… there is a large, black King James version Bible, open on the living room table to John 3:16.
… you can most often hear the children say this phrase, “Yes, Mother, I’d be happy to.”
… the TV only receives the Christian channel.
… every family member is up and dressed and well fed and sitting in the living room anxiously waiting a half-hour before Sunday School starts.
… the only time anyone raises their voice is to say, “Praise the Lord!”
… an exciting evening is one in which every family member gathers together to recite memory verses.
… every family member actually sits still quietly during the blessing at meal time and on occasion the children say, “Dad, will you pray a little longer before we eat?
… every family member is convinced that messiness is a sin and therefore there is never a bed unmade or dirty clothes tossed in the closet or petrified spaghetti noodles on the pan under the sink or a broken, half-eaten candy cane between the couch cushions.
The Bible tells us what a spiritual person is like. From that we can project what a spiritual home should be like.
First, a sign of true spirituality—recognition of the need of personal spiritual birth.
Ezekiel 18:4, “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.”
In a spiritual home it is recognized that every family member needs a commitment to Jesus Christ. There can be a lot of love and acceptance, a lot of teaching and sharing of faith, but there’s a realization that every family member needs their own walk with God.
Second sign of a spiritual home—recognition of the authority of Scriptures.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:37, “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.”
In a spiritual home the Bible is the ultimate authority.
This doesn’t mean that everyone is at all times successful in obeying the Scripture. Parents, as well as children, fail. But the rule is, if it’s biblical it’s right. If it’s unbiblical, we won’t do it.
Third, a spiritual mindset has been established.
Romans 8:5, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
You can tell if there’s a spiritual mindset in a home.
In Romans 8:6 it says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Is there life to the fullest, that is enjoyed, looked forward to in your home? And is there peace and quietness? Not always loud voices, but a quiet understanding of each other and a sense of being at home, at rest, at ease. Thoughts and words can be signs of a spiritual mindset.
Fourth, a spiritual home exhibits a growing understanding of important spiritual matters.
1 Corinthians 3:1, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.”
No matter where you began in your understanding of spiritual truth, that process should be growing. You understand more now than you did then. And so does your family.
Fifth, there’s a quick appraisal of a situation to uncover the spiritual implications involved.
1 Corinthians 2:15, “But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man.”
Those in a spiritual home can quickly see that an argument, discussion, difference of opinion, the conflict or stress, has some kind of spiritual cause beneath it. Something needs to be worked out either within individuals or the whole family, such as in relationships.
Sixth, there’s willingness to make spiritual sacrifices.
1 Peter 2:5, “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In this home people give themselves, that is, give up something, so that spiritual success can take place.
Seventh, there is a gentle work of restoring others to fellowship with God.
Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of a gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
A spiritual individual will be that way and a spiritual home will be that kind of place as well. The gentle work of restoration happens.
Eighth, an ability to see and accept a mutual need for spiritual assistance.
Recognizing what we should receive and what we can give each other in the home.
Paul wrote to the Romans about his coming, whom he had never seen, “that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine” (1:12).
He wanted to go there so he could strengthen them and also receive strength from them.
Ninth, there’s no hesitation to give God recognition for success.
In Hebrews 13:15, “Through him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
Every member is quick to give God praise and glory for what He’s doing, in their lives and through others.
Tenth, there’s no satisfaction with mediocre spiritual living.
Ephesians 1:3, “”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Each one hopes for every spiritual blessing.
Now, there are other signs for what it means to be spiritual. As you come across those in Scriptures, you can apply them to your own family. A spiritual family will reflect these kinds of qualities. But how do you custom design your own spiritual family? That is, every family is unique and different.
You will not have children like James Dobson. You will not have a husband like Joyce Landorf’s. Nor will you have a wife like Marybelle Morgan. So, how will your family apply spiritual truths to be a spiritual family?
Guidelines for a Spiritual Family
~~ Accept the differences of spiritual lives of individuals in the family as a strength.
They aren’t all at the same place in practice and growth. Your children don’t turn out spiritually just like you did. And you may be glad.
You can do that by studying Scriptures. Look through the New Testament and jot down the weaknesses of such people as Peter and Paul, John and Thomas, Mary Magdalene and Martha. See what a diverse, weak group of people Jesus called as disciples. Then commit your own family members weaknesses to God.
You may often wish certain family members were someplace other than where they are, more mature or spiritually deep with more gifted spiritual leadership. Thank God, instead, that every member of your family is at the right place.
~~ Make a list of the spiritual positive qualities in your family members.
These are God’s gifts to you. Do you have a daughter who questions everything about the faith? Thank God for that gift. Make sure you really know what you believe and why you believe it.
~~ Establish a basic environment upon which spiritual lives can flourish.
That looks different in every family, but what would give a chance for spiritual growth to take place?
First, consider spiritual warfare against Satan. Pray that Satan will not touch your home, your kids, your spouse. It’s a spiritual battle we’re in. Take out the influence the evil one brings in.
Second, de-uptight your home. The pressures are so great to perform, to be perfect, to get along, to appease one another. No one’s spiritual life can grow at all. Somehow find the contentment and relaxation to advance your own spiritual commitment to Christ and relax about the others.
Third, remove any stumbling blocks that might be in the way of others’ spiritual growth. Maybe it’s something you do. Perhaps it’s materialism portrayed by the objects around the house.
Fourth, there needs to be open discussion of spiritual success and discouragement as a natural occurrence. The kids need to know more than what’s been right but also when you’ve spiritually failed. Or else they may feel guilty or threatened by having less success.
Share spiritual excitement. And accept when other members of the family question what you’re doing or saying. Receive sincere comments so they can be given an answer. And if you don’t know how to reply, find the information needed.
~~ Demonstrate the importance of spiritual growth by living priorities.
Merely a list of priorities doesn’t mean anything until you do something. If you sacrifice something enjoyable in order to achieve spiritual goals, you demonstrate priorities to your family.
~~ Let your enjoyment of faith infect others.
You can do that by sensing God’s work in nontraditional ways. Be spiritually alert to what God’s doing. Also, practice showing God’s style during testing. It’s what Jesus demonstrated. He had a style in every tough time.
Express an unashamed rejoicing in God’s work in your life. Like at football games when someone runs into the endzone with a football and scores a touchdown. At that moment, the player exhibits great joy. He either spikes the football into the ground, dances up and down, hugs the other players, or maybe all three. By watching that, even if you don’t understand football, you know that was fun. That was great. They enjoyed it.
You also need a way of communicating what God is doing in your life with the same kind of joy. Maybe you need a little more dancing in the endzone of your spiritual life.
Some of you say, “I appreciate all that, but my family’s gone, and I live all alone.”
Let me point out to you in case you haven’t realized before that everything still applies. You’re in a great position.
5 Hidden Strengths of a One-Person Family
1. You have the best chance of setting the tone of family life than anybody else. You control the tone. No one else to interfere. No one else to destroy that spiritual environment that you want to create. It’s a unique position.
2. You have a better chance to control time. Everyone else regrets the intrusion on their time, but you hold more control.
3. Every visitor can become family and potentially experience a real retreat. Your home has the tone and space for family life as it’s meant to be, all set up and waiting. You can provide a taste of life, peace, wisdom, the words, and understanding, all the qualities and characteristics of a spiritual home, whether they stay two minutes, two days, or three years. A one-person family can be the apostle of spiritual life wherever they go.
4. You can take the truths of a spiritual family to others. You can bring the news, the understanding, the bits of information that you’ve learned and gleaned and found to be true. You can take them wherever you go to whatever family you spend time with.
5. Also, you can provide the extras to make other families work. One could be the plate of cookies or a few minutes of peace for a mother of preschoolers whose home is rarely quiet. Or your words of wisdom after years of experience.
It seems to me the ultimate question will not be, how much money did my husband make? Or my wife or children? The ultimate question won’t be, how successful or famous in the eyes of the world?
I think at the end of life you’re going to ask questions like, are they all saved? Do they all know the Lord? Did they accomplish something of lasting value? Was there meaning and purpose to their lives? Are they still close to you? And close to each other? Does the love and family fellowship you once had still exist?
You’ll also ask such questions as, did they enjoy living? Did they grow in wisdom? Those are the things we need to work to establish right now.
Family life can work whether you have six kids or none, whether you live in a mountain cabin, a townhouse, or a mansion. Whether your family only visits you once a year or they never let you out of their sight. Whether you’re related to everyone in town or have a roommate or occasional travel partner, family life that works includes privacy, intimacy, maturity, and spirituality.
“Dear Father, we’re all parts of families, close families, and extended families, loving families and families that are struggling. I pray that as part of family we will give ourselves to building a family life that works, that’s strong, that brings honor and glory to you, Lord, because you created the family structure and we want to say, “Thanks!”
I pray, Father, that we’ll begin to apply biblical principles to our own lives with much diligence, for I pray it in Jesus Name, Amen.”