walk in the word
“Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1
The series we’re studying on Walk in the Word this week and next week hammers one point:Only God can build a home.
It is impossible to build a family without God. Have you ever tried? Not only is it impossible, it’s very painful as all of us have experienced to some degree. But here’s the good news. God doesbuild families. He’s doing it today. God heals marriages. God restores parents to their children. God brings couples together in His design. God does phenomenal things for families as so many of you know. But get this: It is God who does it. Psalm 127:1 lays out the plan, “Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it.”
You may say, “I know that only the Lord can build the house. But sometimes I go back to building it myself.” We can all relate. Look at the end of Psalm 127:1: “They labor in vain who build it.” The word vain there means trifling labor that produces no good. All of our striving and dreaming is wasted unless we’re plugged into God’s plan. We can’t do it without God.
But we certainly try. Do any of these four scenarios play out in your home? Do you try to build your family . . .
1.Through human effort. Do you say, “I have dreams for my family and I’m going to make them happen. I’ll push my wife to be everything she needs to be. I’ll pump up my kids and then push them out into the world. Make us proud, son!” This is a bad plan. God is not present in this home.
2. Through human wisdom. The world’s got a lot of ideas about how to build a family. That doesn’t bother me at all. What breaks my heart is when followers of Jesus Christ turn to the world for answers on how to build their families. Examples of worldly wisdom: “Don’t let your kids cry when they’re babies. Don’t spank them when they’re small children.” Human wisdom. “Don’t choose their friends for them. Give your children freedom with their music or any other input into their mind. When they’re teenagers, give them lots of condoms and lots of privacy.” Very bad plan.
3. Through human resources. “We’ll make lots of money and give our kids everything. We’ll put them through college, we’ll pay for their wedding and the down payment on their first home.” Though these parents may love God and their families, God does not build a home that way. If you try to buy a family, all you’ll get is a string of broken hearts and destroyed lives.
So that’s the worldly plans, but let’s also debunk a false notion in the Christian community. This myth says raising kids is like making cookies. Mix this in, stir that, and if you just do these things, they’ll turn out right. That’s not true. God will not bless some little formula—Christian or otherwise—on the basis of “Well, they followed the recipe.”
Over the years I’ve seen families come to our church who didn’t seem to have a clue about raising kids but their kids have grown up and are now following Christ. Go figure. I’ve seen other families, faithful to their children and in their walk with God and yet their kids have turned their back on both them and God. It doesn’t add up. Why? Because there’s no formula or guarantee. Certainly parents play a significant role; I don’t minimize the things we can do that help or hurt the situation. But we can do nothing to guarantee that another person will follow Christ with a whole heart. All we can do is humbly and dependently come before an Almighty God and cry out to Him for our families and ask Him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Only the Lord can build your family. Only God can protect your kids. Only God can deliver them to the kingdom.
Take a moment and evaluate your home right now. Are you trying to make it happen in your own strength? How would you score your real genuine dependence upon the Lord?
I plead with parents today to invite Christ into the center of your families. “Lord, I acknowledge before You that I have been trying to build my home, my marriage, my family, my future in my own strength. I ask for Your forgiveness for that. I want to be a man or woman who depends upon You, who looks to Your Word for guidance, who draws upon Your strength for victory. So Lord, I give my family to You and ask You to be the Ruler and the Lord of my home. Make us a family that loves You, follows You, and serves You with whole hearts. May today be the start of a new season as we determine that “for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” You are a great and faithful God. Amen.
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