A Right Start: Chapter 14

 •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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The early days in a new school, or in a new place of employment, or in any new surroundings, are very important. The way we begin may make a vast difference in how we get on, and also how we end; therefore it is important that young married people should get a right start in their new home and association. The first words in the Bible may well be taken as a suitable motto for us in making a fresh start in anything:
"in the Beginning God.”
If the Word of God is to be our spiritual food and drink, our light, our guide, and our instructor, shall we delay in making it the foundation of order in the home? It is not just a book to have in the library, nor even a book to turn to in times of stress and trouble, but it is the Book to read in all the days of our life. Who would sail in a ship whose captain failed to consult his charts and his compass? That ship would probably end on the rocks, and so a Christian home without daily and constant reference to the Word of God for light and direction must eventually come to confusion.
The best time for the young husband and wife to bring out the Word of God and establish the practice of reading therein morning and evening, or more frequently, is the first day. It is a mistake, and a serious one, to delay this most needful step. We should read it until our very thoughts are formed by Scripture.
Their peculiar distinction lay in the fact that they had God's Word to guide them. No other people on earth had such an advantage, and it was their wisdom to keep and do according to His words. Neither are there any on earth today, except the children of God, who have the distinct advantage of having their Father's Book in their hands. They have a source of light and wisdom that is unknown to the world. The world has its maxims and wise sayings but they are only human wisdom, and for the most part they are opposed to that divine wisdom to which the child of God has access. The world's best advice is "the counsel of the ungodly," but that man is blessed who walks not according to such counsel (Psa. 1:11Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1)).
Habit is a great thing with human beings; we are all creatures of certain habits—our meal times, our manner of dress, and a thousand other things testify to this. It is well to see to it that we establish good habits. One of these would be the regularity with which we read the Scriptures. It should become as much a part of our daily routine as partaking of food for our bodies. Very few of us ever find ourselves so busy that we neglect to eat.
But there is more to reading the Word of God than mere habit. Jeremiah said, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart." Jer. 15:16,16Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16) David said, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." Psa. 19:9-119The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:9‑11). Unless our taste has been perverted by eating the world's fare, we shall find the Word of God sweet to our taste; it will also be the joy and rejoicing of our hearts, and we shall value it above much fine gold. Verily we have an inestimable treasure in the Holy Scriptures.
When the young couple sit down at their own table in their own home for the first time, that is the time for the husband to take his place and thank God for the food He has provided. Let not shyness keep him back from this when they eat their first meal at their own board.
The same thing is true with regard to their praying together at least morning and evening. What can be a better beginning than for the young husband and wife to bow their knees together and lift up their hearts to God in thankfulness for His goodness in bringing them together, for their own home, and for the mercies which are theirs that day? not forgetting to praise Him for the Gift of all gifts, His beloved Son. "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." 2 Cor. 9:1515Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15). What could more be calculated to unite hearts than bowing the knees together in the common expression of dependence on their God and Father, while thanking Him from whom all blessings flow, and seeking His guidance and direction for each step of the pathway? It is their privilege to unitedly tell Him all their joys and their sorrows.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of the immediate establishment of what is commonly referred to as the family altar. Nothing else can or will be right until that cornerstone of household order is in its place. We learn a lesson in the life of Abraham; he had his tent and his altar. In a sad lapse of practical faith in the "father of the faithful," Abraham went down to Egypt to escape a famine in Canaan. Instead of remaining in God's land of promise, and seeking to learn the lesson God had for him, he forsook that land and left his altar behind. He got into trouble in Egypt, and brought out of Egypt with him the seeds of trouble for years to come. Let Christians neglect their family altar and they will soon find the sproutings of seeds planted during the time of their negligence.
The question has often been asked whether the wife should pray audibly with her husband, or whether he alone should speak as their mouthpiece. This matter we prefer to leave with the individuals themselves. We see no wrong in the wife's pouring out her heart to God their Father in her husband's presence, but they should be of one mind about it, and here the husband's wishes might be the determining factor (see Eph. 5:2424Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (Ephesians 5:24)). If others were present it would be unseemly. It should not be forgotten that she is to have her head covered during prayer, whether she prays audibly or not, for she is in the attitude of prayer (1 Cor. 11:3-163But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. 5But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 13Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:3‑16)).
One more point might be made for young Christians in regard to the establishment of their own home. This frequently takes them into a new district, among new neighbors who are not likely to know that they are true Christians. It is advisable to let their neighbors know as soon as possible that they are Christians —not in any boastful way, not in self-confidence, but as fearing God. In any new company, in the neighborhood, in the shop, in the school, in the office, or wherever it is, the sooner the Christian's colors are displayed the better, for it will preserve him from many a temptation that he might later encounter. People are ready to leave out-and-out Christians alone; they do not relish their company; but the companionship of the world would be ruinous, so the sooner it is dispensed with the better.
Sometimes we hear Christians give as an excuse for their not being present at the gospel meeting or the prayer meeting that some neighbors dropped in and they could not get away. If these neighbors knew their habit of going with utmost regularity to these meetings on set nights, they would not come; and if they did come, what better way would there be to establish what they are and whose they are than by saying, "We always go to the gospel meeting at this time, and we would like very much to have you go with us." Perhaps the opening would be of the Lord to give them the gospel.
There is also the important matter of having the Christian's home bear the impress of the faith of those who live there, so that those who come in may see that their Christianity is something that is lived and breathed. We remember reading of an aged Christian who was invited to see a spacious new home which his son had built. The son was a Christian who had prospered in the world. After the father had been shown all over the house he turned to his son and said, "Son, one would never know whether a Christian or an infidel lived here." There were none of the telltale marks of an earnest Christian in evidence, for the young man had become lean in his soul and was losing those distinctive marks of Christianity.
“What have they seen in thine house?" is a question that may well try our hearts. Are the marks of the world there, or the marks of occupation with a rejected but glorified Christ? Are those blessed Books out of which we are to read continually, in evidence? or are the Bibles carefully hidden away? or are they dust-covered, showing their lack of use? Are there any Scripture texts on the walls? After all, we should be willing to let our light be seen, and not be timid about showing our colors. In this world there are only two classes: those for, and those against Christ. May we not be ashamed of Him who loves us, but be ready to confess that we are His. May our language be of the same quality as that of those who said, "Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse." It is a sign of the last days when only the Lord knows who are His; all should know it (2 Tim. 2:1919Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19)).
It is a very sad spectacle indeed when the world's literature takes the place that the Bible and sound written ministry should have in the home. Young Christians starting new homes should consider the importance of screening what comes into them—seeing to it that there is plenty of spiritual fare, and that the world is kept out. The enemy has his agents to solicit your subscriptions to magazines and literature of all kinds. Beware lest these things get in and become a snare to you and rob your blessed Lord of the place that belongs to Him. Guard your home against the encroachments of the world, and never give place to that masterpiece of deception, television. Bar your doors tightly against that instrument through which the god and prince of this world would invade your home with all the sights of "Sodom" and "Egypt.”
We would caution our readers against many of the religious wall mottoes which are for sale, for mistakes and errors are to be found in them. One very common motto is, "Christ is the head of this house." This has the semblance of truth and of a desire to honor the Lord, but it is not correct. The husband is the head of the house, and he should not forget his responsibility as such. If the Lord came into your home, He would be your guest. May we keep all things in such shape that we would not be ashamed to have Him as our guest. What would He see in our homes? However, let us not forget that everything is "naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
We have spoken of the importance of a proper start in a new community, and of regularity in attending the various meetings for worship, edification, prayer, and giving forth of the gospel. May we add a word about choosing a location for the new home. This should be done with a view both to nearness and accessibility to the place of employment, and the place of meeting. If the latter is overlooked, the Christian couple may find it difficult to get out to the night meetings, and these are essential. To choose a location far removed from the meetings is to make it easy for the flesh to give way to weariness, and to forsake the assembling together (Heb. 10:2525Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)). Some dear Christians have drifted far away as a result of such an unwise move; it has been a sad turning point in some histories. We therefore urge: Consider your spiritual needs in selecting a homesite, and seek counsel from the Lord.