A few weeks ago an opportunity arose for Kim, Rachel, and I to acquire a home—our first home. It is a “lease with option to buy” deal, and it’s being offered to us by a man we know and trust. We think we’ll be ready to buy a house on our own in a year or so, but this would allow us to get into something now while the market is at, or near, the bottom.
Thus, we’ve been looking at several homes and working through lots of details. Along the way, I’ve tried to keep our family’s hearts focused on the right things and this entry is a brief summary of some of those things. To put it in the form of a question, How should a Christian go about buying a home?
1. Guard your heart by remembering that your hope is in Christ alone. Paul writes, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4). And Peter adds, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).
Christians must die to the American dream and be born to the
2. Guard your heart by remembering that this world is not your home and that Christ is preparing your true home even now. Just before he went to the cross Jesus said to his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going” (John 14:1-4).
Why would I give my heart to an earthly home that will one day be destroyed or otherwise fade away, when Christ is preparing for me an eternal home that can neither be destroyed nor fade away? As the writer of Hebrews said, “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). Reason being, this “city” will not last but that “city” will. And the wise put their hope in that which lasts.
3. Guard your heart by remembering that your resources have been entrusted to you by Christ and that he wants you to be a good steward. To be very honest with you, owning a house in and of itself means nothing to me because my hope truly is in Christ. But at the same time, I’m building wealth for my landlord even as I write when I could be building wealth that at least has a good chance of being invested in the
At the same time, another part of stewardship is committing not to stretch resources too far. It is all to easy in the process of buying a house to reach for the little more than you can afford, but the good steward will guard his or her heart and discipline the flesh away from this. After all, the point of stewardship is the glory of God not the comfort of the flesh. This leads to the next point.
4. Guard your heart by remembering that the purpose of life is the glory of God, and therefore Christians should want their homes, as well as the process of buying those homes, to bring glory to him. How does one glorify God in buying and owning a home? Here a few thoughts: (a) Have integrity throughout the process and be absolutely honest with everyone. (b) Be open about the fact that this world is not your home, and that you’re looking for another lasting city. Look for opportunities to share the gospel along the way and so help others acquire an eternal home. (c) Strive for simplicity. Display the fact that Christ is your hope and heaven is your home by buying only what you need for your family and the outworking of your life in Christ. (d) Assess your home for its usefulness in ministering to others. In other words, don’t just look for the home that will meet your needs but the one that will help you be who you are in Christ. (e) Everyone’s situation is different and thus I don’t want to mentions specifics here, but pray that God will allow you to avoid even the appearance of evil. Ask questions like this: What about this house makes God look glorious? What about this house makes God look ugly? Can the latter things be changed so that he looks as he is?
5. Guard your heart by remembering the warnings of Scripture against trusting in wealth. Consider, for example, Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 6:17-19: “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
We must take great pains to ensure that we are not feeding the vanity of our flesh, to ensure that we are not subtly living for ourselves in the guise of living for the “glory of God.” At the same time it is true that God, our Father, gives us all things to enjoy and it’s not a sin to like living in your home. I suppose the point is, why do you like it? And if part of the answer is, “Because it meets my needs,” does the meeting of your “needs” bring glory to God?
Well, I have to go to a meeting now so I better stop writing. But I hope these few thoughts bless you as you consider buying a home or living in the one you’ve already bought.