Monday, January 23, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Life lessons on the true meaning of "home"

Make Yourself at Home
A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.” –John 15:9-10 (MSG)

Home is my happy place.

I’ve always been a homebody, preferring to stay in, comfortable and reading a good book, rather than going out and having what others call a good time. I’ve loved decorating the houses I’ve lived in, remodeling outdated rooms, and finding my design style over time. When I was pregnant, the nursery was my ultimate nesting focus.

I’ve been a homemaker for many years. Yet, all the energy I’ve spent in setting tables and fluffing throw pillows does not accurately reflect the “home” Jesus Christ speaks of in John 15. Here Christ says, “Make yourselves at home in my love.” This is not a material location with floors and walls, but a spiritual place of relationship. This shift in meaning from physical place to heart space intrigued me to look deeper at the essence of what it means to make a home.

This scripture begins with the attribute of love. Jesus says, “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me” (John 15:9). The center of God’s Kingdom is loving others. In fact, the very next verse in John 15 states this way of living as mandatory. It reads, “This is my command: Love one another the way that I loved you” (John 15:12 MSG; emphasis mine). Jesus lived out a sacrificial love, his priority being forgiveness of offense and unity in relationship.

Families don’t always prioritize this kind of love within the home. More commonly, being right is more important than being together. Hierarchal structures of head of household, and powerplay instead of teamwork, can create an atmosphere of jealousy, distrust, and sometimes violence. This does not reflect the heart of God. Nor is it following His example of how to love.

Christ reiterates that He kept His Father’s command. His habit of love was his habitat. And that’s the kind of homemaking he instructs us with—living a lifestyle of love for people. This mirrors our true home in Heaven.

Any house rule set by Jesus has a purpose that is meant for good. Jesus reveals to us in John 15:11 that his intent in making love mandatory is in spreading and growing joy. Let’s remember what Jesus says in John 15:11 (MSG): “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.”

The worst years of my life were those when my family was not unified. There was no joy. Accusations flew and hateful statements were hastily made. Lines were drawn and barriers thickened. Home in those days was not a safe place. And no number of scented candles could mask the stink of our brokenness. It wasn’t until we could sacrifice pride and humbly share the hurts on our hearts, exchanging both apologies and forgiveness, that our house returned to being a home.

When my adult children return home these days, they kick off their shoes, dig through the refrigerator, and lay on the couch. Together we cuddle, tell stories, and enjoy each other’s company. This level of comfort and trust came through applying the love rule and is how we can now abide in a joy wholly mature.

It is only when we can say to others, “I’ve loved you the way my Heavenly Father has loved me", that we are making ourselves at home in Christ's love. In following his command, we build a home that is like God’s Home in Heaven.

This is the art of homemaking—joyfully living out love.

Let’s Pray:
Holy Father, Thank You for Your love. Thank You for the example and the sacrifice Jesus lived out for us to follow on earth. We thank You for inviting us into Your Kingdom. May we follow Your command to love others, that we might be at home in You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Always Be My Home” (song) by Rachael Lampa. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior.

She has a diverse background in business, fitness, and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she’s served, Sharon sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.

Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is studying Christian fiction writing.

Connect with Sharon:

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