Your Character House

Son, today I begin teaching you how to build a house.  I will teach you how to choose the timber, how to cut it and work it and how to join it so well you create a strong and lovely structure, fit for your future bride and a happy family.

It will take me years to teach you all I know, and you will learn by working alongside me, assisting me, observing what I do and listening to my instructions.

In time, you will have all the skills you need to build a fine house for the young bride of your choosing.  And, you will remodel and expand it over time, for your growing family.

With the skills I shall teach, you will be able to rebuild the whole thing if ever a disaster should destroy it or sweep it away.

Shoddy Building

You have seen the gaps in the walls and the leaks in the roof at Jake’s place.  You have seen the problems at the Garrard’s place.  Those families are cold in winter, wet in the rain, unhappy in the heat and uncomfortable most of the time.

When a house is built badly the whole family suffers.  The builder can take an easy day or get a quick fix to a problem, but the consequences will impact others and last for years to come.

I will teach you to build carefully and well.  It will take more time and it will be physically harder than a hasty job.  If you don’t do it right, you, your lovely bride and your children will live with the results of selfishness and laziness for many years to come.

I want your children to be proud of you and pleased with you.  I want them to honour you.  But first you must decide to honour them, even though you don’t know them yet, by making the right choices now.

Character

And son, the same is true of the invisible house you live in.  Every day you are building your character house.  If you build well your future will be blessed.  If you build a poor and shoddy structure, you will live with the consequences for the rest of your life.

Every day you face choices about obedience, diligence, truthfulness, repect, patience, self-sacrifice, and a host of other character issues.  When you choose wisely and stick with those choices over the weeks and years, you build a solid wall or a sturdy frame in your character house.

In years to come that sturdy character house will give you strength under trial, protection in hardship, honour from others, security for the future and peace in times of storm.

Tearing Down your House

Every time you choose to lie, be selfish, resent others, give in to anger or jealousy, speak sharply, react, steal, reject the truth, or any other thing that is against godly character, you tear timbers from your character house.

You will create gaping holes in the walls, leaks in the roof, uneven beams, teetering frame and other major problems in your house.

And, what is worse, you can never leave that house.  You take it with you wherever you go.  You take it into your future, into your marriage, into your family, into your career and into everything else you do.

You will suffer cold drafts of fear, the dampness of doubt, the aches of regret, the shame of your shoddy work and the pain of defeat.  You will feel the cramped limitations of your laziness and the smallness of the world you have built for yourself and your family.

Character Pain

You have seen how the Magrans argue, even in public.  You have seen how Rordan’s children run from his anger.  You have seen sadness in old Mrs Gray’s eyes.

People you know are trapped in painful houses they built for themselves.  They live with disappointment, limitation, agitation, loneliness, false accusations, loss of self control, foolishness, vain ideas, and so much more.

Each of them built those unhappy places for themselves.  They each now live with the hasty, selfish choices they made years ago.

Don’t be like them.

Choose Wisely

Anyone can shelter under a pile of sticks.  But no one wants to live there.  Gracious rooms filled with lovely things, are not found in a pile or rubble.  It takes time and effort to create such a home.

And while you build a family home with your hands, you build your character house with your heart.  You build it by choices.  They are often hard choices.  You build by each choice to do right and to silence the selfish, lustful and evil thoughts that lurk in your heart.

So choose wisely, my son.  Build well.  And let me guide your hands and your heart as we work together on the wonderful future God has for you.

Legalistic Dad

How do you help a legalistic dad?  You know the kind.  He demands his family do as he wants, the way he wants, on the basis that he has GOD on his side.

I have had to deal with several dads over the years that have dug themselves into a hole but refuse to change because they are the DAD and the Bible tells the kids to obey them.  The children become hurt and rebellious and that only affirms to the dad that he is on the high ground and they are wrong.

Call For Help

I was asked recently by a Christian counsellor for some suggestions to help a legalistic dad face the mess he has created and the pain he and his family are living in.  The dad appeals to the Biblical command that children obey their mother and father as his trump card to justify his stern stand.

As I considered the question, my thoughts about sad situations I have seen over the years led me to a new suggestion to help a legalistic dad.

The problem is getting the dad to listen and to be prepared to review his own actions, when he has a strong sense of being “right” and others being wrong.

Test the Fruit

Jesus told us we can know the truth about people by the “fruit” of their life.  A father’s life is not measured by the legal ground he claims as his authority, but by the fruit of his actions.  “By their fruits you will know them” is a basic litmus test we can apply quite widely.

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Matthew 7:16

“So by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:20

I suggest we can apply this to test those legalistic dads who think they are right and others are wrong.

Fruit in the Family

A child starts out as a blank page.  And children are very resilient and forgiving.  They have the ability to cope with disappointments and the distractions of their parents.  And children learn much of their concept of life by watching their parents at close quarters.

So, at least in general terms, the way the kids turn out can be regarded as the “fruit” of the family.  If a family produces selfish, proud, loud, disobedient kids, you know that the home has some serious problems.  If a home produces quiet, obedient, loving, thoughtful children, the quality of the home is attested to by those kids.

So let’s use that fruit factor as a searchlight on the legalistic dad.

Stubborn Kid from a Stubborn Dad

When a legalistic dad digs in his toes and will not budge from his conflict with a child, and the child digs in his or her toes and will not budge either, we can see that the child is the “fruit” of the father.  The stubborn father has produced that stubborn child.

So, if the dad thinks he has the ‘moral high ground’, standing in the place of being right while the kids are wrong, he had better re-think things.  The “fruit” of what he has produced is a public testimony to his failure.  Instead of standing on moral high ground, he is standing in the place he accuses his kids of standing on.

Humility in the Home

If the dad is looking for a spirit of humility in his children, then we need to see that same fruit in him.  If he doggedly defends his opinions and the rightness of who and what he is he can only expect his children to be as stubborn in their stand for their own rightness too.

First let’s see the dad humble himself before God and admit that he needs God’s wisdom.  Let’s hear the dad admit that he has failed in his role as dad.  When we see that kind of humility we know there is hope for the family.
If dad defies the evidence then he has invalidated his stand before God.  God gives grace to the humble, not to the defiant and arrogantly proud.

Heart Issues

Another important truth for a legalistic dad is that the issue is not rebellious kids, but the condition of the dad’s heart.  Yes, rebellion in the family is wrong and the rebellious children need to have that resolved.  But the dad is the head of the home and it is vital to get him sorted out as a key to healing the whole family.  And getting dad sorted out means dealing with dad’s heart.

The Bible points out that the real “issues” of our life are not the things that come against us but the things that come “out of us”.

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

When we seek to heal a home, the real “issues” are not the rebellion of a son or daughter, but those things that come out of the heart of the dad and mum.  In the case of a legalistic dad in conflict with his children, it is what is coming out of the heart of that dad.

Out of the Heart

Listen to what Jesus said about the significance of what comes out of us.

“And he said, That which comes out of the man defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Mark 7:20-23

The issue that is defiling the father and likely bringing real problems into the home is whatever is coming OUT of the father’s heart.

And we know what is coming out of the heart by what people say.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Legalistic Speak

A legalistic dad will speak judgment of his children, rejection, condemnation, fault finding, pride in his own standards, negativity, contention, and so on.  And those words of his mouth reveal that he is not standing on moral high ground, but is polluted.

A heart that produces evil speaking reveals an “evil heart”.  The legalistic dad has deep troubles in his heart that lead him to produce toxic speech and bad fruit.

The more a legalistic dad is challenged about his stand the more virulent he may become in attacking others, asserting that he is right, feeling rejected and intimidated and so on.

All of this reveals that the dad is not walking and living in God’s grace.

Fruit and Heart

The dual matters of the “fruit” of the dad’s fathering in the home and the “issues” in the dad’s heart expressed in his legalistic stance and speech, show that the dad needs help.  The home is what it is because the dad has internal issues that need to be resolved.  He will never be able to lead his family into joy and wholeness while he is beset with personal problems that have produced bad fruit in the home and which reveal bad issues pouring out of his heart.

Legalism as a Cover

If a dad has produced bad fruit in his home and his heart pumps out evil things he has issues.  And legalism may just be a way to cope with life and excuse his situation.  Legalism may be a cover.  By being legalistic he can point at others, rather than get free on the inside himself.

Just about anything could cause a person to become legalistic, but since legalism prompts a person to reject others it is reasonable to assume that rejection has a part to play in the legalistic dad’s heart.

Certainly there is a lack of the grace of God.  And the writer of Hebrews warns that failing to receive and give out God’s grace leads us to having a root of bitterness which causes us to defile others.

“Be diligently attentive lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” Hebrews 12:15

Legalism and the attendant accusation and rejection certainly defile and offend people so an important need in the life of a legalistic dad is to experience the grace of God and to give God’s grace to others.

Give Grace to Dad

If you suffer under a legalistic dad you will find it easy to become hurt, offended, resentful, judgmental, angry and so on.  And by so doing you will be tempted to let a root of bitterness spring up in your life.  If that happens then the problem has been passed down to a new generation, instead of being dealt with and rooted out of the family.

So if you have a legalistic dad press in to God for sufficient grace so you can give grace to your dad, even though he does not deserve it.  If you can give grace to those who have no grace, you will not come under the power of their failures and weakness but have triumphed into liberty for yourself and your children.

If your dad is legalistic and refuses to see that there is anything wrong in his life, you are in a very vulnerable place.  Determine with God’s help to give abundant grace to that graceless dad.

Women With Wise Words part 2

In part 1 of this topic I pointed out that women are known historically for being contentious. That means that some women tend to say things that make for argument and strife.

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” Proverbs 21:9

“A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Proverbs 19:13

I pointed out that the basis for such trouble-making words is “pride” and that it involves a desire to “rule” others and be their “judge”. Insecurity has a part to play in that as well.

bossy2

I won’t repeat the background points made in part 1, but if you missed them I encourage you to go back and brush-up on the points made there.

Wise Words

The point of these articles is to teach women and all who need to know it, to stop contending and start sharing. Wise words do not lead to contention. Hasty, angry, thoughtless words will tend toward strife. So I want to give you some wise counsel about alternative ways to respond, rather than with contentious words and argument.

There are two issues that need to be addressed. One is your heart and intention. If you are given to strife, like the woman I mentioned in part 1, then you will step into strife all the time. That woman ended up in strife with another lady in her church, and she was known as a difficult person to befriend.

The second issue is the appropriate process to follow. Even with the right intentions we need people to give us guidance about the best way to do things.

Let me discuss these two issues with you, to point you in the right direction.

The Heart of the Matter

If you are contending with your husband, your children or others, there will be something going on in your heart that prompts you to do so. You may be wrestling with disappointment, that your family and marriage are not what you want them to be. You may be wrestling with unforgiveness for offences they have brought upon you. You may be frustrated because you have not been able to achieve some personal ambition, which may even go back to your childhood.

Whatever the issue that is gnawing at your heart, you need to resolve it and give it to God. You are to cast all of your cares upon Him because He cares for you.

Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7

Stop looking to people to deliver you from your challenges. Trust those issues to God. Your husband, children, family, friends, career and social connections cannot do for you what God is meant to do. If you trust in people to be your saviour you bring a curse upon yourself.

“The LORD says; A curse on the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD. For he will be like the heath in the desert, and will not see when good comes; but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” Jeremiah 17:5,6

Determine to trust God, and not to carry heart issues toward people who let you down. People are imperfect and only God can be your deliverer.

Control Your Speech

As you deal with your heart attitudes also take steps to control your speech. Hasty, impulsive, reactionary words will keep you in the unhappy cycle of contention. Stop contending and start sharing.

When your husband or child says something that you want to react to, stop yourself immediately. Don’t leap into the automatic response that you are urged to offer. Bite your tongue and hold yourself until you can find a wise and honouring response.

It is not easy to tame the tongue. The Apostle James warned us of that.

“But no man can tame the tongue; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8

We cannot do it in our own strength and so we need God’s grace and power to master our verbal responses. Start by trying to hold your tongue. And call out for God’s help at the same time.

Wise Counselor

Stop taking the position of ruler and judge and take on the role of wise counsellor to your husband and children. Stop violating their will, by being demanding, argumentative, emotionally charged and manipulative. You are not their king or judge, so drop that role. Take on the much more valuable role of being a godly counsellor to your family.

Compare the Roles

In one home the children are about to head off to school. As they do so the mother calls after them with a bunch of questions, like, “Did you remember your book?” “You’ll need something warmer than that!” “Don’t dawdle on the way home.” And so on.

The children are not really paying attention, because they know that if they have forgotten something their mum will take up the issue for them. They are just mindlessly running out the door as they always do.

In a nearby home the children have all gathered to their mum before heading off to school. She will pray with them, but not until they can account for all the things they need that day, to show they are properly prepared.

When she sees that one of them has forgotten something she wisely asks, “Now, isn’t there something else you said you had to take to school today?” Thus she prompts her children to remember. When they are all fully prepared she blesses them and sends them off with a hug.

The second mum is coaching and counselling her children as she shares her life with them. The first mum is acting like their ruler and judge, apart from their life, rather that sharing it with them.

Helping Hubby

In one home a husband announces that he thinks it’s time to buy a new car. His wife reacts with irritation and scolds him for thinking about a new car when they can’t be sure they have the money for other expenses. He defends by saying he was only thinking about it, but she launches in and gives him the history of all his unwise decisions. She further blasts him for never listening to her, always doing his own thing and making her feel so worthless.

The husband shrinks away, rattled and stung. He finds some excuse to be out of the home and away from the woman who is contending with him. It is better for him to be in the pub, or at work, or anywhere else, than with his wife when she is in that frame of mind.

In another home a husband announces that he thinks it’s time to buy a new car. The wife smiles and affirms her husband. “You do love cars, don’t you? What do you have in mind?” The husband begins to share his thoughts and the wife enjoys them with him.

After a time of happy discussion she asks him how he can possibly afford it at this time, and if there is anything she can do to help make it possible. Together they realise that it is really only a dream, until they can get on top of some other commitments. However they thoroughly enjoyed the dream and will both be delighted when it is realised.

In the second example the wife is sharing life with her husband. They are partners in the process, not adversaries contending over an issue.

Getting the Picture?

Can you see how dropping the role of ruler and judge takes the contention out of the discussion? Sharing life together is much more rewarding for you and your family, than becoming an adversary to your loved ones. I hope you are getting the picture that even disagreements can be worked through, rather than turned into a stand-up fight.

I want to give you more examples of “sharing” instead of contending. I want you to feel comfortable with changing the way you relate and speak to one another. I’ll give you those examples in part 3 of Women With Wise Words.

To go directly to Part 3 of this series click this link:
http://chrisfieldblog.com/?p=1193

Sacrificial Purpose of Manhood Video

Being a “Man” challenges us at the very core of Western values. Our culture teaches us to look out for Number One, and to seek things which will please ourselves. Self-Interest, then, is a core value in Western culture.

So God’s intention that men live by Sacrificial Purpose cuts across our instincts and cultural training.

However, the Bible is clear that men are not to live for themselves but for others. And so Pastor Chris Field gives a clear and strong call to men to step up to that kind of living. He opens up the Bible and shows that this is not some crazy idea in his own head, but a truth that rings clear from the pages of scripture.

Other Videos by Pastor Chris Field include ….

SEXUALITY VIDEO“Sacred Nakedness” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/sacred-nakedness-video

MARRIAGE VIDEO“What is Marriage?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/what-is-marriage-video

MARRIAGE VIDEO“50-50 Marriage?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/50-50-marriage-video

MANHOOD VIDEO“The Manhood Call” http://chrisfieldblog.com/manhood/manhood-call-video

TRUTH VIDEO“Where Does Your Truth Come From?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/truth-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Heart of a Child” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/heart-of-child-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Godly Seed” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/godly-seed-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Child Discipline” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/child-discipline-video

Manhood Call Video by Ps Chris Field

A true understanding of what it is to be a “Man” has been damaged in today’s feminised and secularised Western world.
Pastor Chris Field addresses that problem, helping to clear away the confusion and point to the Biblical case for real men to step up to the Calling which God has on their lives.
Manhood Call is a direct challenge by this internationally recognised preacher to rouse men from their selfish perspective and their stepping aside from God’s purpose for their lives.
We encourage you to not only view this short video but send it on to the men you care about. It is just the start of their transformation – but they have to start somewhere !!

Other Videos by Pastor Chris Field include ….

SEXUALITY VIDEO“Sacred Nakedness” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/sacred-nakedness-video

MARRIAGE VIDEO“What is Marriage?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/what-is-marriage-video

MARRIAGE VIDEO“50-50 Marriage?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/marriage/50-50-marriage-video

MANHOOD VIDEO“Sacrificial Purpose of Men” http://chrisfieldblog.com/manhood/sacrificial-man-video

TRUTH VIDEO“Where Does Your Truth Come From?” http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/truth-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Heart of a Child” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/heart-of-child-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Godly Seed” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/godly-seed-video

PARENTING VIDEO“Child Discipline” http://chrisfieldblog.com/parent/child-discipline-video