Living Large in Your Christian Home Life
By Mr. Tim Snyder, Media Services Coordinator for Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI
Living Large – To live an extravagant or self-indulgent lifestyle. (Dictionary.com)
Is your family living large? I’m not talking about a life of luxury. This is about a different kind of “living large.” It is a kind of living that is diametrically opposed to an extravagant or self-indulgent lifestyle. The question really should be worded this way:
Is the life of Christ lived large in our homes?
This type of “living large” is summed up by the Apostle Paul: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1,2).
Paul describes a lifestyle you will find in Christ-centered homes. A family that is positively pro-life and pro-family loves as Christ loved.
That’s a tall order! I think of the many times I have failed to be the servant-leader that Christ has called me to be. I’m not a very good imitator of God, and my family is no better. Paul is asking the impossible.
A closer look at these verses from Ephesians tells a different story. It starts with the comforting fact that I am loved by God and that His Son gave Himself up as a sacrifice for me. My sin, the very evidence that I cannot imitate Christ, has been pardoned. My relationship with God has changed. No longer an eternally condemned sinner, I am God’s dearly loved child! The gospel transforms me. Not only should I be an imitator of God, empowered by the Spirit I am an imitator of God. It’s a fact. Christians can answer in the affirmative that the life of Christ is lived large in their homes.
But, what about my sinful failings? I am a new creation in Christ who delights in serving Him. I am also a sinner who wants nothing to do with Him. “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Romans 7:18). Again I must look to my Savior. The Christian life is one of daily repentance. It is a life centered on the cross. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).
The Christian life is also a life of continual growth through faithful use of the Means of Grace. The zeal and commitment to live a Christian life are sadly lacking in all of us. The gospel, which comes to us in Word and Sacrament, is the means that the Holy Spirit uses to instill genuine zeal and commitment. The fruit of the Spirit marks the home where the life of Christ is lived large. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23a).
The family that is positively pro-life and pro-family follows the example of Christ. This family speaks God’s truth in love and avoids the deadly legalism that so appeals to our sinful natures. In the Gospel of John we see how the Pharisees dealt with a woman caught in adultery. They showed no love for the sinner – only a misguided zeal for the law and a desire to carry out its letter rather than its intent. The transparency of their actions was made evident by their desire to trap Jesus in a seemingly no-win scenario.
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4b,5).
Jesus got right to the heart of the matter with His response: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7b).
The Pharisees, unable to respond, went away one-by-one and left Jesus alone with the adulteress.
“Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’ ” (John 8:10,11).
A home where the life of Christ is lived large is a home that speaks the truth in love. Sin is never whitewashed or covered up. It’s a home where the gospel of forgiveness always looms large. The inhabitants of this home belong to Christ. They love like Christ. They are positively pro-life and pro-family. May we all have such homes!
October 19, 2017
May 7, 2018