This is it… This part right here. This 48-inch belt stopped me dead in my tracks just outside Saline, [Michigan]. There I am, coasting at 70-miles-per-hour down Interstate-75. Drove under an overpass, popped out the other side, and started up a slight incline. As I went uphill, my speedometer started slipping down. 70-miles-per-hour. 60. 40. 20. 0 [miles-per-hour]. No matter how hard my foot pressed the gas pedal, the car would not speed up. It sat there dead on the side of the freeway. Do you know what went wrong? Well, do you know what this is? A timing belt. (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/symptoms-of-a-bad-or-failing-timing-belt)
Now, if you don’t know what a timing belt does, that’s alright; I didn’t know about this belt before that day either. The timing belt makes sure the pistons work in sync with the exhaust valves. The exhaust valves must remain shut when the fuel ignites. The explosion then pushes the piston down, ultimately transferring power to the wheels. Now, if the valves are open when the fuel ignites, the explosive power exits through the exhaust; the power is not transferred to the wheels.
Simply put, the timing belt makes sure the individual components of the engine work in sync.(https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070126214836AAiZREP&guccounter=1]) It does not matter if you have a full tank of gas or four brand new, fully inflated tires or the best oiled pistons. No timing belt, no movement. Have a timing belt, have movement.
This morning God highlights all the individual components that make up a Christian family. Then, he draws your attention to the one Person who links Christian relationships together. Lose sight of this Person and relationships strain. Set your focus on him and you gain motivation for many parts to work together. That’s why God says, See Christ in Your Christian Home. Through the Christian women he sends and Through the response of praise you give.
In Proverbs 31, God lists the many blessings you receive through a wife of noble character (31:10). What makes such a woman “noble” is her faith which clings to Jesus as Savior. God loved her and joined her to the Vine of Jesus Christ. Like a branch connected to a vine produces fruit, so this woman, connected to the Savior, produces fruits of faith.
Verse 26 reveals some of that fruit. It says: She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Now, this wisdom is not life-advice she created from her sense of fairness or from how she thinks the world functions. Real wisdom acknowledges the poisonous devastation sin wreaks on the world and how Christ is the antidote. A Christian mother-figure holds the wisdom to know that greed can drag hearts away from love for God (1 Timothy 6:10). So, she gives financial advice, but does so, recognizing that money is a treasure given from God to provide for everyday life. A Christian mother understands that inside a wild, rebellious child beats a heart fighting against God’s commandments. So, she disciplines in love because turning that sinful child from the error of his ways will save him from eternal death in hell (James 5:19-20). A Christian wife is patient with her spouse. No, not because this keeps matters light and the tensions down for one day. Rather, God calls her to love her spouse just as much as believers love Christ (Ephesians 5:22-23). You see, God highlights the fruits of faith bursting forth. Everything this Christian woman has learned about God gushes out in her words and actions.
She is this individual component working in a Christian family or even among the community of believers. Do recognize that this is the work God considers important? To speak wisdom? To give faithful instruction? To watch the affairs of the house? Ladies, when you remember this work is pleasing to God you find satisfaction. Men and children, when you recognize this is how God uses the Christian women in your life, you benefit. As Christian women faithfully carry out their individual callings, you See Christ in Your Christian Home. You see Christ giving instruction and blessing through the Christian women he sends.
So, do you see Christ? Do you see the many blessings God gives you through mothers or through your wife or through the motherly-figures in your life? Do you understand the ways you serve the body of Christ as a mother or wife or mother-figure? Or, have you sunk into the standards of the world?
The world tends to praise the spectacular, right? Social media exalts the mother who can balance the three sport schedules, two school-bands schedules, and the jam-packed school schedule. It’s as though somehow this is the “real” mother that every woman must aspire to. Maybe it’s even you that feel deep down inside that you can receive glorious praise through the achievements of your child. Doesn’t that just stroke the ego? You set out to be a mother of this world so that you can receive human praise.
The world tends to compare, right? If you can look more successful than others, then people praise you! Being mother becomes this badge of pride that allows you to feel better about your life. “Oh, did you see the trouble their son ran into? Our child would never do that!” Or, “My grandchildren are better behaved.” Husband-wife relationships become this sort of competition. “Our marriage is better. We don’t fight. You should learn from us.” You puff out your chest, so proud that you are better than everyone else.
The world tends to gorge on the bread of laziness, does it not? Instead of seeing how Christ uses you to serve each other, you instead see how you can serve yourself. So, you manipulate your spouse in order to gain more affection. You demonstrate little care about your child’s spiritual life because you figure “it’s up to them now.” You feel too advanced in life to encourage your Christian family.
Do you see what happens? When your attention drops from Christ, you lose this unity with each other. No longer do you find satisfaction in motherly roles. Rather, you behave in ways so that you can steal praise from God for yourself! Even Christian men and children may believe that only the spectacular and sensational are praiseworthy! When you (and I) set our attentions on achieving worldly goals, you fail to See Christ in Your Christian Home. You fail to see the great spiritual blessings you give and you receive.
Life then begins to feel like all these individual components spinning about at random, spinning for their own self-interest. When you feel out of sync with your Christian family, set your attentions back to Christ. He unites every individual person together.
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. Serve he did. He served the sick and diseased— even putting aside his time to help them. He exposed the error of his disciples so that they would not drift from faith. He does not boast about how well he knows Scripture. Rather, he teaches so that many may believe. Jesus sets his attention to the life he gives.
Jesus Christ serves you by suffering humiliation on the cross. He suffers as though he is proud. He suffers as though he is spiritually lazy. He suffers as though he selfishly protected his time. Jesus is left out of the home of heaven so that you can call heaven your home.
And you can. Jesus rose to announce his forgiveness. For the times you failed to meet his standard of being a Christian woman. For the times you criticized his gift of a mother or spouse. He forgives you. He rises into heaven, allowing you see where he has gone so that you can remember you are heading to heaven.
Stop and reflect on the many different roles you have within your family setting. Some of you are children; others are adult sons and daughters. Some of you are fathers and mothers; others are grandparents (and great-grandparents). Some of you are empty-nesters with adult children; others have children growing a little less reliant on you. Some of you are husbands and wives; others carry loads of life experience after decades of marriage. Some of you are young and single; others are older and single. No matter where you are in life, See Christ in Your Christian Home. See how God’s Word is shared Through the Christian women he sends. See how Christ’s love for you motivates your appreciation for his blessings. This comes out in the response of praise you give.
Her children arise and call her blessed… Pay attention to the order; praise comes after serving. A negligent mother cannot demand her child respect her. Mother-figures do not manipulate children and friends so that she can receive her selfish craving for praise. When Christian women faithfully serve their Christian family, they naturally reap praise.
Praise from whom? Children, you call your mother “blessed.” That is the highest praise you may give. You are acknowledging that she is God’s representative sent into your life in order to be a blessing to you. Mothers provide food and drink, clothing and shoes, house and home for their child. God gives daily bread through the work of this woman. Mother-figures encourage children of a congregation to keep connected to God. They empathize with the struggles children face at school. God uses these Christian women to encourage you in your life of faith. When you thank the Christian women in your life, you are thanking God for blessing you through them. Even when children live ungrateful and do not praise, God sees the faithful work done for his honor.
Husbands, you also praise her. You approach your wife, your mother, the widows of your congregation, or the motherly-figures, and you praise them for their real beauty. As our proverb says: Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting… People can cover up their real personalities. Physical attraction does not mean you really know someone. Real beauty is found in a woman who fears the Lord.
Love for God is the most priceless trait found in a Christian spouse. How many of you can thank God because your mother shared Jesus with you? How many of you husbands will sing in heaven because of your spouse? How many of you can point to Christian friends who loved God that they invited you to worship, invited you to Bible class, or encouraged you to remain strong in your Christian faith? God uses individual members of your family setting to bless you. This is how you See Christ in Your Christian Home. As a result, every Christian—child and men and women—give thanks to God for the blessings they receive.
As you look closer into the Christian home, you see all the individual components that make up a Christian family. No role is greater than another. Rather, your individual roles are different. When you examine how Christ uses you in your role, this body of believers work together to bring God’s blessings into their lives and to thank God for these blessings.
Set your focus on Christ. He links your relationships together. Set your attention on him and gain motivation for many parts to work together. See Christ in Your Christian Home. Through the Christian women he sends and Through the response of praise you give.