Many families from various countries and cultures are experiencing serious problems in their relationships. The tide of sorrow, suffering, and separation seems to be rising, and many are drawn into the deep waters of despair. Satan, who is crafty and cunning, is convincing many that happiness depends on having more material things even if getting them hurts the family. It seems that there has been a shift from having little but enjoying much, to having much but enjoying little. There is nothing wrong with having much, as long as it doesn’t displace Christ and deprive the family. The demands for our time are so great that family members often have little time to pray together and encourage each other. There is a significant need to build a Christ-centered family, one where Christ is given first place in the home and heart of each member.
The foundation of the family is established on Christ Himself and our love for Him. The Lord reminded the children of Israel that He is the foundation of the family. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Dt. 6:4-5 NKJV). Thank God that He loves us so much that He gave up “the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13) for us. For this we ought to love Him above all others.
As a family, our love for God will be more evident when we do the following:
Begin Each Day With Prayer
Prayer should be our first response, not our last resort. And Jesus gave us an example to follow: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place; and there prayed” (Mk. 1:35). We should pray individually and together as a family.
Make Decisions As A Family
We should always give the Lord first place in all our decisions. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt. 6:33).
Honor The Lord
We should remember that all that we have – our things, time, talents and money – comes from the Lord. “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled” (Prov. 3:9).
Govern By Love
Thank God for families that exercise authority in love, and with a Christ-like attitude. However, there are many homes where neither love nor authority are present. In one there is authority but no love, and in another there is love but no authority. It is important that all family members submit to the authority of God who has demonstrated His unquenchable love to us in giving up His beloved Son to die for us on the cross (Jn. 3:16). As parents, we must care enough to exercise authority in a loving manner to discipline our children in a fair, firm way for God. Parents should be in control at home, not the children.
Teach The Word
The Bible is the foundation for a Christ-centered family. As parents we should have the Word in our hearts, and live in its light so that it can guide and guard our families. We must teach the Word of God consistently. The Lord reminded the nation of Israel to teach His Word to their children: “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates” (Dt. 6:6-9). He is reminding us that His Word must be the center of our teaching in the family.
Train Children For The Lord
We may teach without training, but we cannot train without teaching. We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving. Training requires time together, sharing our failures as well as God’s faithfulness, listening to each other and reminding each other that God cares for us at all times. As parents reflect on the road which they have traveled by God’s grace, and reminisce with their children, the family learns that man’s sufficiency is in-sufficiency, but God’s sufficiency is all-sufficiency. Training should create a desire in our children for the Lord, direct them according to the Word, and develop in them a disciplined life. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). This truth from the Bible is worth more than all the wisdom of man.
A Christ-centered family treasures each member, treats each member with respect and trains children to follow the Lord. In a Christ-centered family authority is exercised in love; teaching and training are from God’s Word and for God’s glory. This makes the home a place of happiness and joy, not bitterness and grief; a place of loving, laughter and safety where everyone feels acceptance, affection and belonging. We cannot kindle a fire in the hearts of our children unless it is burning in our own hearts.
|A Week Of Family-Centered Training
Discuss one question together each night after supper.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org