Is Your Home a Place of Rest and Peace?
“May Jehovah make a gift to you, and do you find a resting-place each one in the house of her husband.”—RUTH 1:9.
1. Some 3,000 years ago, what three women embarked on a journey to Judah?
SOME 3,000 years ago, three women embarked on a perilous journey. It would take them into regions generally infested with thieves and desperate men. The women were making their way through the rugged land of Moab. The eldest was the widow Naomi, bent on reaching Bethlehem in her beloved homeland, Judah. At her side were two younger widows, Orpah and Ruth, Moabitesses who had been the wives of Naomi’s deceased sons Chilion and Mahlon. Listen!
2. Naomi had what wish for Orpah and Ruth?
2 “Go,” said Naomi, “return, each one to the house of her mother. May Jehovah exercise loving-kindness toward you, just as you have exercised it toward the men now dead and toward me.” And for what did Naomi express a further wish? “May Jehovah make a gift to you,” she said, “and do you find a resting-place each one in the house of her husband.” (Ruth 1:8, 9) Yes, Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to return to their people, hoping that among them God would grant each young woman the rest and comfort that result from having a good husband and home.
3. What position did Ruth take, and with what ultimate result?
3 Orpah departed, but not loyal Ruth. Refusing to forsake her mother-in-law, Ruth resolved: “Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” The ultimate result? Why, Ruth found a home of rest and peace with Boaz and was granted “a perfect wage”! She became an ancestress of King David and of his inimitable Lord, Jesus Christ.—Ruth 1:16; 2:12; 4:13-22; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 1:1-6.
4. What thought-provoking question is raised?
4 Naomi desired that Jehovah give each of her daughters-in-law the gift of a secure marriage and a home of rest and peace. Surely, God wants the homelife of his servants to be tranquil. If you are a witness of Jehovah, then, is your home a place of rest and peace?
Choosing the Right Mate
5. If you are an unmarried Christian contemplating wedlock, what is the first step toward a tranquil homelife?
5 If you are an unmarried Christian contemplating wedlock, you undoubtedly hope for a tranquil homelife. The first step in that direction is made clear by the apostle Paul, who wrote: “A wife is bound during all the time her husband is alive. But if her husband should fall asleep in death, she is free to be married to whom she wants, only in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 7:39.
6. (a) To ‘marry only in the Lord’ means what? (b) What questions merit consideration by someone seeking a marriage mate? (c) Why should one choose a baptized mate prayerfully?
6 To ‘marry only in the Lord’ means to enter wedlock only with a fellow believer. But a Christian should not rush into marriage, even to a person dedicated to Jehovah. Does the individual really ‘seek righteousness and meekness’? (Zephaniah 2:3) Is he or she serving God wholeheartedly? Does the person speak from a heart filled with loving expressions of praise to Jehovah? Is the field ministry a regular and principal part of the individual’s life? Does he or she have the needed qualifications for the ministry and for Christian marriage? Yes, even a baptized mate should be chosen wisely, prayerfully. As far as it is possible, be sure that the believer has fine spiritual qualities. Such a union prevents the peace-disturbing stress and heartache that so often exist in religiously divided households.
7. For the greatest happiness in marriage, what is needed?
7 Emotional needs can be met and spiritual things can be shared in the marriage of two dedicated Christians. This results in the closest possible human bond. Christian men and women surely desire a close bond with their marriage mates. Humans were created with an urge to worship, and our greatest happiness results when we take proper steps to satisfy our spiritual need. (Matthew 5:3) Realizing this, surely we would not want to disobey Jehovah by marrying an unbeliever and thus robbing ourselves of this spiritual unity that enhances marriage. (Deuteronomy 7:3, 4) Yes, for the greatest happiness in wedlock, make sure that God is in your marriage. Such a figurative “threefold cord cannot quickly be torn in two.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) Indeed, having Jehovah God in your marriage will make it strong and will help to make your home a place of rest and peace.
Counsel That Promotes Domestic Peace
8. For married Christians, what counsel is especially noteworthy?
8 Among Christians already married, what is needed for a home of rest and peace? Many things, of course, but especially noteworthy is Paul’s counsel at Ephesians 5:21-33. True, a husband or a wife could try to use those words to highlight the shortcomings of his or her mate. But how much better it is to concentrate on counsel that is found there for you to apply personally!
9. What counsel did Paul provide for Christian husbands?
9 If you are a Christian husband, personally applying Paul’s counsel will help to make your home a place of rest and peace. The apostle urges: “Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it.” Paul also said: “Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation . . . Let each one of you individually so love his wife as he does himself.” A husband should ‘love his wife as he does himself’—as if she were himself. How appropriate, since ‘the two have become one flesh’!—Genesis 2:24.
10. In view of 1 Timothy 5:8, what responsibility does a Christian husband have?
10 A husband who loves his wife as he does himself will take the lead in spiritual matters. He bears responsibility for the situation existing in his family and cannot rightly let things slide along, as it were. No, he must care well for the material and spiritual interests of the entire household. “Certainly,” said Paul, “if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.”—1 Timothy 5:8.
11. What counsel does Paul provide for Christian wives?
11 A Christian wife can do much to make the home a place of rest and peace. For wives, Paul offers this inspired counsel: “Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord, because a husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation, he being a savior of this body. In fact, as the congregation is in subjection to the Christ, so let wives also be to their husbands in everything. . . . The wife should have deep respect for her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22-24, 33) This “deep respect” contributes toward making the home a place of rest and peace. Surely, it differs greatly from the attitude of so many worldly wives who have an independent, challenging spirit that disturbs and upsets a home.
12. How should Christian husbands and wives act?
12 Christian husbands and wives need to act in ways that promote love and respect. The husband should be considerate, loving, spiritually mature. And the wife should be God-fearing, cooperative, lovable. It is not difficult to see how such attitudes would make a home a place of rest and peace.
Never “Allow Place for the Devil”
13. What counsel does Paul give at Ephesians 4:26, 27?
13 Since humans are imperfect, it may not be easy to maintain a peaceful home. For instance, external pressures may result in stress that could rob the home of peace. But applying Paul’s counsel at Ephesians 4:26, 27 can contribute to the tranquillity of our homes. Paul wrote: “Be wrathful, and yet do not sin; let the sun not set with you in a provoked state, neither allow place for the Devil.” Even if a husband or a wife justifiably becomes angry on occasion, neither of them should ever let this angry state become a sin by remaining in a provoked state and harboring animosity. May we never let the peace disturber, Satan the Devil, rob our Christian homes of peace!—1 Peter 5:8.
14. If a problem has caused some disruption, what is suggested to restore domestic peace?
14 For domestic peace, of course, each marriage mate must apply Bible counsel. If a problem causes some disruption, praying together for God’s spirit can result in the displaying of its fruitage and the restoration of domestic peace. (Luke 11:13; Galatians 5:22, 23) Yes, even under the most trying circumstances, this course will help to make the home a place of rest and peace.
Role of Children in Family Peace
15. How can younger ones help to promote family peace?
15 Younger ones, too, can help to promote family peace. How? By manifesting an obedient and cooperative spirit. Such a spirit depends largely on the Scriptural teaching they receive and the way a Christian parent fulfills his individual role as a teacher. Part of this vital training is setting the right example as parents. As Proverbs 22:6 aptly puts matters: “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.” With good training and fine parental example, children usually will not turn aside from the proper way. But, of course, much depends on the quality and extent of the training, as well as on the heart of the young one.
16. What example as to child training do we have in Timothy’s case?
16 Begin training your children spiritually while they are very young. That was done in the case of Timothy, for Paul urged him: “Continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15) Yes, Timothy was “persuaded to believe” Scriptural truths. Used here is a Greek word meaning “to be firmly persuaded of; to be assured of” something. (New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, page 514) That ‘firm persuasion’ called for intense effort on the part of Timothy’s Christian mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois. They succeeded in imparting to Timothy ‘faith without hypocrisy,’ even though his father apparently was an unbeliever. (2 Timothy 1:5) Are you working to develop similar faith in your children?
17. What evidence is there that a person can be taught from infancy?
17 Timothy was taught the Scriptures from infancy. Therefore, never underestimate a child’s learning capacity. The New York Times reported that according to one study, “there are twice as many synaptic connections—sites where the treelike branches of brain cells meet up—in certain regions of children’s brains than in those of adults.” Even very young children can learn something about what is good and what is bad, pleasant or painful. In his book The Brain, Richard M. Restak, M.D., says: “In all living organisms, memories may be stored within the brain according to their importance for survival. An animal ‘remembers’ its predator and withdraws at the first sign of its enemy’s approach. Memories are also laid down in tandem with the intensity of emotional experiences. As children, we don’t have to be told more than once not to put our hands on a hot stove.” Of course, much is yet to be learned about functions of the brain, but a child can learn by experience. For instance, even at a very early age, a youngster can be taught to sit quietly at Christian meetings.
18. At Ephesians 6:1-4, what counsel did Paul give children and parents?
18 As children get older, they can progressively take in spiritual instruction. Among other things, they can learn that God expects them to obey their parents. This requires firm but loving parental training, for Paul wrote: “Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous: ‘Honor your father and your mother’; which is the first command with a promise: ‘That it may go well with you and you may endure a long time on the earth.’ And you, fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” (Ephesians 6:1-4) Obedient children contribute greatly toward making the home a place of rest and peace.
19. What can strengthen the parent-child bond?
19 But what can strengthen the parent-child bond? Reading the Bible and Christian literature together surely can help to do this. Such publications as My Book of Bible Stories and Listening to the Great Teacher are especially useful in helping young ones. When reading the Bible and at other times, emphasize love for God. While eating a meal, make statements that praise Jehovah as the Great Provider. When traveling with your children, ascribe to God the marvels of creation—plants, flowers, trees, mountains, streams, lakes, and animal life. While engaging in the field ministry, seize opportunities to comment on God’s love. Daily, help your child to grow in love for Jehovah as a person. Of course, to reach your child’s heart, such love must be in your own heart.—Deuteronomy 6:4-7.
20. How important is proper discipline?
20 Never forget that discipline is essential. When properly administered and received, “it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11) And children who wisely submit to parental discipline bring the family joy and honor and uphold its good name. (Proverbs 10:1; 13:1; 23:24, 25) Indeed, by filling their Scriptural roles, parents and children make their home a place of rest and peace.
Maintain a Home of Rest and Peace
21. According to Proverbs 24:3, 4, how can a home be maintained as a place of rest and peace?
21 How can a home be maintained as a place of rest and peace? Says a proverb: “By wisdom a household will be built up, and by discernment it will prove firmly established. And by knowledge will the interior rooms be filled with all precious and pleasant things of value.” (Proverbs 24:3, 4) By the knowledge and work of an industrious family, a home may come to be filled with fine things of a material sort. But a household can be built up and established on a firm foundation only if its members show discernment and exercise godly wisdom, applying Scriptural knowledge aright. Yes, wisdom builds up a family and makes possible its successful life as a unit.
22. Applying God’s instructions will result in what?
22 Applying God’s instructions within a household will result in peace, for the Israelites were told: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Therefore, may all godly husbands, wives, and children apply heavenly wisdom. Then our homes will always be places of rest and peace.
Do You Recall?
□ For a tranquil homelife, what choice should be made by an unmarried Christian contemplating wedlock?
□ According to Ephesians 5:21-33, what must husbands and wives do to achieve domestic peace?
□ How can applying the counsel at Ephesians 4:26, 27 help to make the home a place of peace?
□ In what way can younger ones contribute to family peace?
□ How can we maintain our homes as places of rest and peace?
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Christian husbands and wives need to act in ways that promote love and respect
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Timothy was taught God’s truths from infancy. Are you helping your children to grow in knowledge and love for Jehovah?