Our home is God’s territory. And we are marking it as such.
We have been in the throes of an entire kitchen remodel in our home. I mean a rip everything out and take it down to the studs gut and remodel.
Part of the demolition process of this remodel included chipping up 450 square feet of ceramic tile. And if you don’t know anything about chipping up tile, it was quite the messy project. However, when it was all said and done and we were about to have the new tile installed, I realized I had a great opportunity.
We have been involved in several construction projects both at church and at our kids’ school where we have written various things on the building’s foundation before the finishes were put in. I realized that we had an opportunity to do the same thing.
So the night before the new tile was to be installed, we gathered on the bare concrete floor of our gutted kitchen and the four of us each wrote a scripture on the foundation of our house.
You see, a while back I read a book* that has really challenged me to go further and do more in terms of parenting my children and teaching them our faith. One chapter, in particular, talks of marking the home as God’s territory.
Now, that idea can be taken symbolically. Or it can also be taken literally. I have felt the need to take it literally. At least in some ways.
In Deuteronomy 6, as Moses is conveying to the Israelite people the commandments of the Lord, he finishes off the first section in verse 9: “Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
In that day and time, I imagine their floors were pretty much just dirt. So for some reason I am picturing the door frames being one of the stronger “foundational” parts of the house. And I picture the gate being a thing of protection. So, to put it in the New Donna Version, “Make my Word and commandments visible in your home. Make it the foundation of your home. Allow it to protect your home. “
Now, I’m not saying that there is something mystically protective about some words written somewhere or hanging on a wall. What I am saying is that there is power in recognizing that your home is God’s territory and doing intentional things that remind your family and anyone who walks into your home of that fact.
We can accomplish this in a variety of multi-sensory ways. In other words, engage all the senses. By doing so, you will create triggers to memories of you home when your children are older that will remind them of the faith that they were taught in your home.
Sight: Have artwork that reflects God, Christ and His Word.
Hearing: Provide Christian music and a stereo in your children’s rooms and have it playing in the house. And if I might put in a plug for some of the older hymns of our faith here… There are treasures of theology in many of those hymns that need to be passed to the next generations.
Taste and Smell: Make your meal times a time of gathering as a family to build one another up and even discuss things of your faith. Make certain meals a tradition around certain religious holidays or gatherings. For instance, we always have lamb at Easter in our house.
Touch: Encourage your family to do “faith.” If your children take music lessons, they should learn to play some Christian songs. If they like to paint or sculpt, encourage them periodically to make something Christian in nature for an art show. If you sew, then sew something for the needy or for a mission project. The bottom line here is to get their hands involved in something faith related.
You know, we all have triggers that bring back memories. If I have a roast cooking at home, that smell and taste can take me back to Sunday lunch during my childhood like nothing else. Roast on Sunday was a given in our home. Of course, so was hand-washing the dishes afterward. So, maybe not all the memories are pleasant. But in my rebellious late teen and early adult years, just the thought of roast, potatoes and carrots with gravy (oh yes, you must have gravy) would remind me of lunch around the kitchen table after Sunday morning at church.
Certainly it was the Holy Spirit that drew me back to himself during those rebellious years, but the memories that I have of growing up in a Christian home couldn’t have hurt one bit. And as a parent, I feel a responsibility to do anything and everything I can to give my children the opportunity to remember things that draw them toward their faith.
So as we wrote out verses of scripture on the foundation of our home, we engaged the senses of touch and sight as we demonstrated to ourselves and our children that Christ and the Word of God are the foundation of our home. And I gave myself and hopefully the rest of my family a memory trigger of that fact each time we walk through our kitchen and over those scriptures each day.
Engage the senses. Create triggers for memories. And mark your home as God’s territory.
And just in case you were wondering, the scripture that I chose to write on the floor was John 6:35, “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’”
*Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham Jr.