Two years ago, 26 year old me was sitting in her favorite booth in Panera when she journaled the following prayer:
Lord, I really want my own house. I want to make a home and get to know my neighbors and have get togethers to reach them with love and the Gospel. I want to have a library and a cute kitchen and slumber parties with my small group girls. I want my home to be a place where people are well loved, well fed, and well treasured. A place where people feel safe, accepted, welcomed, and warm. Where they receive cookies, gratitude, encouragement, love, and the Gospel. Where they can come to relax, to be quiet, to talk, to praise, to read, to cry, to laugh, to sing.
I want a home.
A home not just for me but for my girls,
Lord, in Your time, would You give me a home? A semi-nice one, not for luxury but so more people can squeeze in and be squeezed by Love?
Update: I still don’t have my own place. But my dream for a home to be used for God’s glory remains.
According to Scripture, we do not have anything that hasn’t been given to us from the Lord, and from His Word we know His gifts were not intended to find their eternal home with us. It is clear we have received all we have in order to leverage all we have for the joy of all people and the worship of our Savior (1 Peter 4:10-11).
If our lives, lips, talents, and gifts are to be used for God’s honor, why should our living situation be any different?
How can we use our homes to make God famous? How can we strategically use our dorms, apartments, houses, and yards in such a way as to make God look as good as He is?
The goals of my (future) home are simple. I pray it will be a place of refuge for people to gather, celebrate, weep, struggle, pray, and feast on good food and the Gospel.
What are the goals of your home? Do they line up with the Gospel message? Are they in line with Jesus’ mission? How can we redeem the home from self-itis (selfishness, self-gratification, and all things “mine”) and instead glorify the One who has given us a spiritual and earthly home?
HOW TO REDEEM THE HOME
1. Remember the Gospel
When we remember the Gospel, we see the truth in vibrant color: we are not our own, we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In light of that glorious reality, we now live to glorify the One who redeemed us from the curse of sin by employing every resource we have for His exaltation.
Our homes should be a refuge for our own souls but it doesn’t stop there. Because of the Gospel, we see this life is not about us. Therefore, counter-culturally, our homes are not just for us. Do you see your living space as an instrument entrusted to you by God for the purpose of loving Him and loving others?
Because Jesus has paid our debt, we now exist for His glory and the joy of everyone around us, so we are driven to unlock our hearts, doors, and lives to others, ready and eager to share with them the storehouses of God’s grace and kindness.
But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. -1 Thessalonians 2:8
Do we extend the Gospel with our lips and lives?
2. Don’t be a Christian hoarder
“Be a pipeline not a puddle.”
“Be a fountain not a drain.”
Be a giver of God’s goodness not just a receiver.
Do not hoard the gifts of the Savior as if they were intended for you alone. If God is anything, He is a divine multi-tasker who has given us what we have to be a blessing for others.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. -1 Timothy 6:17-19
Because I was bought with a price, what I once claimed as “mine” has been laid down before the King who saved me and therefore I am at His disposal to do with as He chooses (as are all my resources). The way my life and home are stewarded should reflect that.
Are we stingy with what we own or do we recognize the gift of the Gospel that reveals the way we have been undeservedly loved and, as a result, equipped to love others and live in the surplus of the Gospel?
3. Don’t try to impress
Living to impress others is like walking into a prison cell, locking the door, and asking the guard to burn the keys. You’re enslaving yourself.
Love doesn’t seek to impress. Love lays itself bare and serves another, come what may. As Dustin Willis said in Life in Community,
The Gospel says the pressure is off. You’re freed to love people because there’s no need to impress them. You don’t have to give people Disney World every time you open the doors of your home. Give them you.
People don’t need to see the illusion of perfection. That includes the illusion of a perfect soul, personality, or home. You are not Chip and Joanna Gaines. You do not have to give your guests a Magnolia-worthy atmosphere. They don’t need your “perfect” aesthetics. They need Jesus.
No one benefits from seeing perfection unless they are seeing the perfection of Christ. In the Gospel, we have been freed from any lingering pressure to self-promote or appear better than we are. People need to see real, raw, honest faith that repents quickly and welcomes all into the lavish generosity of the Gospel.
Are you laboring with the people God has placed around you? Are you serving and inviting them to your table as a way to glorify the One who invited us to the greatest table of all time?
4. Speak the truth in love
In a world of words that slice and dice, strive to represent the Word by creating a space where ours are used only to build up, heal, and edify.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. –Proverbs 18:21
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. –Ephesians 4:29
We serve a God who speaks and in whose words contain the power of eternal life. Do our words reflect and point to the Word made flesh?
LIFE NOT LUXURY
Making much of the Lord and having open doors can happen regardless of the size of your apartment, dorm, or home. Upon examination, one may realize the one-two punch combo command to “show hospitality without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8) and to “make disciples ‘as we go’” (Matthew 28:19) is not contingent on a luxurious environment.
Our home is a tool, not a trophy. –Jani Ortlund
Because of what Jesus has done for us, we are to reject any inclination toward selfishness and instead use our homes as catalysts for ministry, creating spaces for retreat and refuge for others to receive the Gospel demonstrated in real life.