Creating A Home Prodigals Return To

What does an ideal home, one that is hard to leave but easy to come back to, look like? This type of home will have love and relationship, boundaries for our own good, and respect for all. It would be a home where people are loved no matter what, and there are restoring conversations, grace, and forgiveness in action. It would be a place where real discipleship is taking place, people are being helped to draw closer and closer to Jesus.

A home that is hard to leave but easy to come home to is a place where we provide for our children the real version of Christianity – not a harsh and unforgiving version. Do our children see us keep our own accounts short? Meaning they hear us apologize when we have slipped up, or ask for forgiveness when we need to?

As parents, we need to start with ourselves. When our relationship with God is healthy, then we can model that for our children so they can come to the Lord and build an authentic faith. Many parents hear that they need to create a home that honors God, and assume that means a home that is a ‘no-fun-zone’. A home of rigidity and inflexibility. A home where you must look a certain way, act a certain way, and behave in a way that does not embarrass the family by making a public mistake.

But as parents discipling our children, we need to look at how Jesus called his first disciples:

While walking by the Sea Of Galilee, he (Jesus) saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:18-20 ESV

Jim Putman, author of this blog, is one of the speakers at this year’s National Disciple Making Forum. Learn more and register here.

Those verses form, not only the essence of discipleship but also the essence of what a home that follows Jesus is all about. We are to build a relational faith in our homes, not merely an intellectual faith. We center our lives on the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are invited into an intimate relationship with Jesus and do life together with him and other believers. To have a faith that is not just about facts, but about relationship and discipleship.

We are given three important directives from that verse:

  1. We are to follow Jesus. (follow me)
  2. We are to let Jesus transform us. (I will make you)
  3. We are to join Jesus in His mission. (fishers of men)

This is not only who we are to be as his disciples, these directives also apply to the type of home we create.
If we are following Jesus and making him the Lord of our lives, we will be modeling that to our children and teaching them to do the same.

If we allow Jesus to transform us as parents, our children will be surrounded by the fruit of that transformation – which includes us loving God and loving others and all of the fruit of Spirit that is laid out in Galatians 5:22-23. As that kind of atmosphere is modeled for them, it will encourage our children to allow God to transform them in the same way.

And finally – as we are joining Jesus in His mission, we should be constantly encouraging our children to find their place of service in the body of Christ. This will form ropes of relationship with other believers that will help them stay and/or return to the body if they stray.

I’d like to end with the disclaimer that although I offer this as God’s ideal for the home, I want you to know that I am not an expert at this. I have made many mistakes along the way, but I am writing this in part to share the things I’ve learned from those mistakes.

Remember we have a great Father in heaven who loves our children and family even more than we do. Rebellious children can soften and turn from their sinful ways – they can be restored and follow Christ wholeheartedly. I myself am living proof of that. We have real hope in Him.

Written by Jim Putman

This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.

Photo by Simple on Unsplash

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