God requires universal holiness of His people. Many have imbibed the false notion that Sunday’s worship services are holy, while home life is abandoned to all sorts of unregenerate acts, devices, and godless living in general. However, the scriptures clearly teach otherwise. True saints of God live in God’s temple day and night, the hours of which are filled with service to God (Rev. 7:15).
Homes must be a representation of the church of God itself, and their inhabitants and appurtenant articles must conform to the stringent standards of a holy God. As primary guardians of the home, mothers and fathers are required by God to enforce the standard of holiness and to repulse every attempted invasion of the devil, thus making their home an impregnable spiritual fortress and sanctuary.
Sadly, parents often underestimate the power and responsibility they have to ensure the spiritual safety of their children. In reality, God has placed in the hand of parents the keys of the home. It is up to them to decide what enters there. In Joshua 24:15 we find a well-known statement, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This verse lets us know that Joshua had come to a very important realization. He realized that he had a house! Sounds simple enough, does it not? Yet this simple statement has eluded many a father. Dear fathers, you have a house! It is not your son’s house nor your daughter’s. It is yours! You are the one who decides what may enter and abide in your home.
Many fathers stand back and watch–with sealed lips and tied hands as it were–as their children drag ungodly devices and behavior into the home. Shame on the parent that will say, “Well, they have to make their own decision about serving God”! Yes they do, but the father must determine the content of his household and the actions of his children. Joshua said, “We will serve the Lord.” It sounds like Joshua was very confident that he was able to control the spiritual direction of his home.
Abraham shared the vision of Joshua. God Himself testified with confidence of this faithful saint. “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household…” Gen. 18:19. Abraham was conscious of his responsibility to ensure that everyone in his home complied with the law of God. Here are mentioned not only Abraham’s children, but his household. He was not like the compromising Eli, who weakly said, “Nay, my sons” (1 Sam. 2:24), but took no action to put an end to their sinful practices or apostate priesthood. God pronounced severe judgments on Eli’s family because he “RESTRAINED not” his sons. The word “restrain” indicates active control. Parental passivity is one of the greatest obstacles to a child’s salvation.
In Judges 4:5, we have the account of Jael, a woman who stands as a wonderful example for mothers today. It seems to me that Jael was nothing more than a simple housekeeper, yet she knew how to take a stand for God. When Sisera, the captain of Israel’s enemy, came by her house, she invited him in. No, she did not hide. I can picture that brave woman standing at her tent door and waving that wicked man down. I think she was smiling inside, anticipating the opportunity to defeat the enemy of God’s people. After he came inside, she nailed his head to the ground.
Sisera had made one big mistake–the last mistake he ever made. He had entered the wrong house! What happens when the devil tries to enter your home? When he attempts to do so, are you able to make him regret that he ever even tried? Is your home the wrong place for the devil to meddle with? Does he know that from experience? The commandment, “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27) applies not only to personal experiences, but also to the home.
So, must children make their own choice as to whether or not they will be saved? Yes, they must. However, if parents give room to the devil and the world in their home and in the lives of their children, their children will never even get a fair chance to make the right decision! Besides that, as long as children live under the roof of their parental home they must live according to God’s standards, whether or not they choose to be saved. While an inward experience of salvation cannot be forced upon a child, outward conformity to divine standards must be required and will greatly facilitate the child’s conversion.
Some parents who plead with God for the salvation of their children could help God immensely by throwing out the God-prohibited items from their household. What constitutes a “household”? The answer is simple and easy to come by as the word is rather self-explanatory. A household is all that a house holds! It is not enough to pray for a daughter’s chastity when her bookshelves are lined with romances and novels! What a shame it is for professing Christians, who profess to know the evils of the television, to allow their children to own one and watch it on the premises of the home. O the carelessness of parents who do not deem it their responsibility to inspect and know about the contents of their teen-age children’s closets and dresser drawers! Parents, take heed lest the awful word “Ichabod” be written on your home because of tolerated sin. Corporate worship meetings of the church can never be characterized by the glory of God, if His glory cannot abide on the individual homes of the congregants.
While we need to save our own souls, we must not neglect to save our homes (Heb. 11:7). “Holiness unto the Lord” must be written on every single aspect and object of the home. Parents have a divine calling to preserve the purity of their homes at any cost. God has placed the souls of the children in the hands of the parents. They are responsible to bring them to God and constrain them to live holy in preparation for an eternity in heaven.