Your address is not a coincidence.
Where you live — house, townhome, duplex, apartment, or dorm — is not ultimately a consequence of your budget, your stage of life, or your commute. You live where you live because God has deliberately, sovereignly placed you here. The long series of events, decisions, and circumstances that led you here really did lead you here. He brought you home one detail at a time.
The God who made the world, and everything in it, as Paul preached at Mars Hill, “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26–27).
God not only knit you together in your mother’s womb; he also sovereignly orchestrated all the places you would call home — the periods and boundaries of your “dwelling place.” You do not have a home by accident. Your home is an invitation from God to seek God, and a commission from God to help others seek God.
Five Dreams for Our Home
Our family’s address changed in the last few weeks. We only moved three short miles away, but we have felt the weight of leaving our last (and first) home behind. And we have felt the joy of making this new house our home (even with the joys of painting and moving wearing off more quickly).
The move has given us a fresh opportunity to think and dream and pray about having a home. Why do we have a home? What do we want to happen inside these walls? What will the legacy be of our years here, however many years we end up living here? As a family who believes in Jesus, obeys Jesus, and loves Jesus above all else, how do we make the most of this home?
The questions are all too big for us on our own, so we take them to God and let him speak. The verses below are shaping how our family intends to steward our home, and inspiring us to make it an outpost for ministry, rather than a retreat from our mission.
1. May we build our home on Christ and nothing less.
Of all the things that might show up on an inspection report, foundation issues are the worst. If you decide to buy a house with a bad foundation, you’re signing up to suffer a host of serious problems throughout your home, or you’re signing up to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have the foundation fixed. Most buyers simply walk away from a bad foundation, and for good reason.
If Christians are ever going to maintain and steward a home in a meaningful way, we must build our house on Christ. Regardless of whether we own or rent, whether we have lived here for 25 years or a few days, we have the opportunity to rebuild the foundation under our spiritual feet.
Jesus tells the parable,
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24–27)
If you’ve been living on sand, start pouring God’s word into the foundation underneath you and your family. As strong and secure as most modern homes may seem, many of them are quietly crumbling from the inside out because we’ve neglected the words of and about Jesus in Scripture. We subtly (or overtly) build homes on comfort, privacy, entertainment, and safety, without making room for God himself to speak. Then when the rains of various trials fall, or the floods of crises come, or the winds of life beat against us, the once strong house suddenly falls apart.
Build your home, instead, on the Rock. Allow his voice to be the regular stabilizing, guiding, shaping, correcting, and comforting foundation under your lives.
2. May we hold this home loosely.
Even hours into living in our new home, the temptation emerges to idolize the familiarity, comfort, and security a home brings. We are walking into our second home with eyes wide open to the reality that God may take away this home a year from now, or he may call us away from this home at any time for the sake of his kingdom.
Just as he has graciously and lovingly given, he may graciously and lovingly take away (Job 1:21). We bless his name today, and we resolve to bless him if and when a harder day comes.
Jesus says some of us will lose houses because we decided to follow him,
“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29–30)
We may lose a house because of Christ, but we will never be losers in the process. However much we lose for his sake in this life, we receive a hundredfold now because of him — and infinitely more in eternity. For all those thousands upon thousands of years, having lost a house in this life will suddenly look and feel like having lost a favorite pen or pencil.
So, enjoy this home, but hold it loosely.
3. May we make our home a home for others.
When God gives us a home, he wants to care for our immediate family, but he also has other people in mind. The New Testament makes clear that God wants every Christian home — whether we are single, married, or parents — to be a home for people outside our home. Sometimes literally and physically, often more spiritually and emotionally.
Paul charges every home owner (or renter), “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:13). Hebrews adds, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrews 13:2). Show hospitality. Meaning, wherever you call home, bring people home with you — and use your home to serve the needs of others.
And do the harder, even impossible work of showing hospitality without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9) — without complaining about cleaning the home, or making extra food, or changing our plans, or being inconvenienced. Grumble-free hospitality and generosity will produce “the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15–16) — the distinct and beautiful smell we all want filling our homes.
4. May we prioritize our true family.
Among all the people we might bring into our home, the Bible calls us to prioritize one group above the rest — perhaps even more than our biological families. Paul says, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9–10). Especially to other lovers of Jesus.
When asked about his biological family, Jesus says, “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:46–50). He also tells us to honor our parents and to provide for our biological families, but with a special burden for those who love and obey him with us.
You not only live in a home, or own a home; you are being made, with lots of other believers, into a home: “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Let your home be a catalyst for that kind of spiritual building, joining, and maturing within the family of faith.
5. May we remember that this home is not our home.
While we may live here for a season — five years, 25 years, maybe even 50 years — this is a temporary living situation. Our earthly home is not our true home, because we have a better home, and an abiding one, in heaven (Hebrews 10:34). “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). If we love, follow, and serve Christ, wherever we live in this world, we know we belong somewhere else.
That does not mean we cannot treasure these four walls. God has chosen these walls, for these days, specifically for us — for the sake of his glory through us and our joy in him. It does mean that we live inside these walls and care for these walls with hearts set on our final and everlasting home. As you enjoy this dwelling place for this allotted time, prepare your heart and family to live forever at home with the Lord.