If you have ever been involved in a building project, you know that it can be both exciting and demanding. One of the greatest opportunities God ever entrusted to Christian parents is the building of a godly family.
We are living in a time when families are falling apart all around us. Many contemporary cultural influences are making it harder for families to survive, especially Christian families. The ungodly, humanistic values of today are exerting tremendous pressure on families that want to develop God’s way. But if Christian families fail to raise up a godly heritage, who is going to do it?
A building project of any magnitude requires four basic things: the blueprint, the builder, a budget, and building materials. Any failure to provide these essentials will jeopardize the whole project. Let’s look at these four things in relationship to building a godly family.
To start, we need a well-prepared blueprint, plan, or pattern. We need to know what a godly family is. The Christian’s blueprint is the Bible. The One who authored the Scripture is the One who created the family. In Christian bookstores the family section is overloaded with books on every imaginable aspect of family life. Some are good, some are not. But the greatest book that has ever been written for the needs of the family is still the Bible! We must follow God’s blueprint.
In Ephesians 5 and 6, God outlines His plan for godly families. The first step is for each member of the family to be saved and living in the Spirit (5:18). When the Holy Spirit fills a believer He does three things: He controls, changes, and conforms us to Christ. When each member of a Christian family is controlled, changed, and conformed to Christ, the life of the Christian family becomes very exciting.
God’s blueprint for husbands is to love their wives with a Christlike love that is unselfish, unconditional, and unending (5:25,28,33). And he is to be the spiritual leader of his family (5:23,24). According to God’s plan, a godly man will love and lead his family as Christ does the Church. Husbands, whose blueprint are you following — the world’s or God’s?
God’s blueprint for a godly wife is that she be submissive and obedient to her own husband as unto the Lord (5:22,24). As the wife yields herself to God’s authority, so she is responsible to submit to the authority He has placed over her in her husband. The world’s blueprint says that any woman who does that is crazy! But you can’t build a godly marriage or family by the world’s ideas. Who’s blueprint are you following?
God’s blueprint tells parents that they must not motivate their children to an angry, rebellious spirit. Rather, they are to train them in the “nurture” (disciplines) and the “admonition” (doctrines) of the Lord (6:4). There is enough within the heart of every child, as well as the influence of the world, to make them rebellious. They don’t need our help! Rather, they need our encouragement to become godly young people. That’s God’s blueprint! Follow it with your children.
God’s blueprint for children is to obey and honor their parents (6:1-3). Young people always have a tendency to ask “Why?” The Bible gives this answer: Because it is right, and so that God’s blessing may be upon them. There will come a time when children move out from under parental authority and they are no longer responsible to obey mother and father. But there is never a time when they are not responsible to honor their parents. That may not be what the world says, but it is what God says!
Next, every good construction job needs a builder who is experienced and well qualified — someone who has a good reputation for doing quality work and who stands behind it. Psalm 127:1 says, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” The only one we can safely entrust with the building of our family is the one who is best qualified to do so — God Himself. To try to do it without His help is a waste of time and effort. It’s too big a job! Only God knows what it takes to build a godly family. Let Him be your builder and He will do it according to the right blueprint.
The third requirement for building a godly family is the budget. You have to find out the cost and determine if you are willing and able to pay. Luke 14:28-30 tells the story of a man who began to build a tower, but ran out of money and could not finish the job. We’ve all seen incomplete building projects. In most cases they just ran out of money. Building a godly family will cost you plenty — in time, energy, and resources. But most of all, it will cost you yourself. There are no short-cuts. The key word is sacrifice. Are you willing to pay the price? Too many families are not, so they never get the job done! All their time, energy, and resources are committed to things they consider to be more important than their family. What a mistake!
The Building Materials
Finally, you must have the right building materials. What does it take to build a godly family? It takes love — lots and lots of God’s love in each life, flowing to each member of the family. It takes example: It is much harder to show someone the way than it is merely to tell them. Godly parents have the greatest influence on their children. Following a godly example makes it so much easier to become godly now and remain so in the future. It takes admonition — training the family in the doctrinal truths of the Christian faith, initially seeing each one saved, and then growing up in the Lord. It takes discipline: God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. That’s why He lovingly chastens His children. Loving discipline is God’s way of bringing about the changes necessary in the development of a godly family. The list of building materials could be much bigger, but these are the most essential.
Your commitment to be a godly family will fuel your determination to do whatever it takes to become one. Follow God’s blueprint, let God be your builder, be willing to sacrifice, and use only the right building materials. Happy building!
By Jack Palmer
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA.