It was a picture perfect family moment. Mom sat writing with their newborn daughter on a blanket at her feet. Their older children were playing together outside, enjoying the brisk fall weather and each other. Dad was watching and playing with them. Grandma had supper cooking in the slow cooker, and the smells of warm stew were teasing everyone’s appetite. And Grandpa had a fire on in their fireplace, cozying up their already inviting home.
This, to me, is family.
After all, at certain times of the year, we all think about comfort, warmth, and family. It’s when we gather together with loved ones. And we celebrate family, create memories and build relationships.
As believers, family is even more special, for many reasons. We have a larger family than just related by blood or marriage. It’s also created by faith. Family is the form of the Church. It’s the foundation of society. And it’s also the fundamental representation of the Triune God. We learn to relate to each other, to God and to the world, through family.
God has instructions for family as He does for every other area of life.
Family is incredibly important to God. Therefore it should also be vital to the Christian. In fact, the main qualification for any type of leadership in the Church is how well they have managed their family. Is the family of the leader an example of faithfulness, respect, love, and kindness? Paul states that if we cannot lead our own families well, we have no business trying to lead the church.
Family is supposed to begin with a godly, solid marriage.
In the beginning, God created human beings to be together in families. He joined the first couple in marriage Himself. Their relationship was without barriers, originally. They had complete intimacy — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And they had complete trust in each other and in God.
God designed us to long for that connection to another person. We want to be completely known and accepted! This intimate, connected relationship is where our strengths shine and our weaknesses are protected. United in marriage, our efforts are multiplied, and our impact magnified.
A godly marriage starts with God.
When both partners have a personal relationship with God, like a triangle, they grow closer together as they grow closer to God. Godly marriages are strengthened by our willingness to be honest, open and vulnerable. Paradoxically, we build a strong marriage by being willing to reveal weakness. Marriage is then fulfilled in our unity and teamwork. We are fully “one flesh” when our first response is about “we” not “me”.
It is in family that we best represent the Image of God.
Genesis 1:27 says that man was created in His image, male and female. Together we fully show who God is. It begins with marriage. And it is completed with the first command God gave human beings: to be fruitful and multiply.
God looks generationally. After all, His promises to Abraham and his descendants were constantly to “you and your children.”
Children are compared to “gifts”, “rewards”, and “crowns”. And it’s in the security of a godly marriage, founded on God’s principles, that children best grow and thrive. Children who follow Jesus are the proof of the godly family who has achieved God’s purpose.
In order to have a godly family, godly parenting is key.
Scripture says that the essential ingredients of godly parenting are consistent teaching, compassionate discipline and communal responsibility.
This instructs parents to teach their children the laws of the Lord, at every single moment of life, and not just with words, but with their example as well. Consistency is integral to effective parenting. If your words don’t match your actions, children are confused and often rebel.
These verses list the value of discipline in correcting children and preventing future pain for both child and parents.
Here, the Word expands on Proverbs by reminding parents to temper their discipline with understanding. Otherwise they risk provoking rebellion in their children.
The Psalmist declares that God disciplines us like a father disciplines the son he delights in. This shows us that it takes love and compassion to discipline appropriately. If you truly love your child, you’ll disciple them.
History of Israel
The examples given us in Joshua, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings talk of how the sins of one person affected the whole community. That shows how God views the community’s responsibility of the raising of children.
God gave a whole book of instructions to parents on how to handle rebellious children, with the community’s help.
Jesus also told us how to handle those who offend us, including our children, by appealing to the larger community of which we are a part, such as our local church.
Godly parenting involves all these elements to raise godly children.
The effects of godly marriage and godly children are evidenced in the impact on the world.
In Psalms 134, God compares godly children to arrows in a trained warrior’s quiver, going far beyond him to hit the target and accomplish a purpose. God can use our children to accomplish His purposes. In Psalm 139, God declared that each of us was uniquely created. And in Jeremiah 29, God promised a future and a hope for us. In Isaiah, God told us that He puts the lonely in families. We are trained, nurtured and prepared for a future, all inside families.
Families are God’s way of showing His love to the world.
Every year we can celebrate God’s love and provision for us, in giving us a family, whatever that family may look like. God puts us in families, whether that is the family of our birth, or the family of our second birth, the church. The community of family is so important to God. God started His story with a family, and finishes it with a family.
The Godly family is love in action. Thank God for His family, and for our families.