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.
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 Girard’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 honor you. But first you must decide to honor them, even though you don’t know them yet, by making the right choices now.
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, respect, 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, honor from others, and 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.
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.
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.