The enemy is always attacking the Christian home by triggering conflicts in the marital and family relationships. As a result, there is less joy, respect, affection and authority in the family. All this can make family members anxious and depressed. “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Prov. 12:25 NKJV). However, even under the threat of so much discouragement, we can have God’s Word of encouragement to assure us that regardless of our family conflicts, God is able to restore joy and harmony in the home. The following six steps can help us build and maintain a better Christian home.
1. Firm Foundation For The Home
I believe that the foundation of a building determines the stability of that structure. The Lord Jesus is the only firm foundation. He is also the master builder of every relationship: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (Ps. 127:1). The Lord has set His approval on marriage: “Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man” (Gen. 2:22).
It is vital that we who have accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord be conscious of our solid foundation, and be rooted and grounded in His love so that we will not be shaken by the enemy’s attacks. Through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to love each other fervently.
2. Fervent Family Prayer
I am convinced that God has answered the prayers of my parents on my behalf. There must be frequent and fervent communication in prayer with our precious Lord for our marriage and our children. If our children are not saved, we ought to be in fervent prayer for their salvation. If our children are trapped in any sort of addiction, we need to fast and pray that God will break every bondage and set them free.
Husbands need to be in harmonious fellowship with their wives, so that they can pray together and confidently commit their children to God. Peter exhorts husbands: “Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). The whole family should pray together as often as possible. There ought to be honest communication with the Lord and with each other in the family.
3. Faithful Reading of the Word
We must not only communicate with God, but we must also allow Him to communicate with us. It is not how much we get into the Word, but how much the Word gets into us and into our daily living that counts. Paul reminds us to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). As we allow the word of God to govern our attitude and approach, we can encourage each other in the family.
4. Filling of the Spirit
I believe that selfishness is one of the major problems affecting marital and family relationships. Any time self is enthroned in our hearts, problems will result in the home. In Ephesians 5, Paul addresses not only the church, but homes and families as well. He commands us: “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). We must dethrone self and enthrone Christ. Then we will not be filled with self, but with the Holy Spirit – and able to yield our thoughts, temper, tongue and temple fully to the Lordship of Christ.
After commanding us to be filled with the Spirit, Paul then exhorts wives to submit to their husbands, husbands to love their wives, and children to obey and honor their parents (Eph. 5:22-33; 6:1-2). One loving deed done through the Holy Spirit is better than a thousand good intentions of the flesh. When the fruit of the Spirit is displayed in the family, harmony and joy will follow.
5. Full Contentment in the Home
When we are discontent, enough will never be enough. Sometimes we can worry so much that we don’t even enjoy what we have. After the writer in Hebrews speaks of marriage as being honorable, he goes on to say, “Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5). It is often said “Little is much when God is in it.”
6. Favored Responsibility in The Home
God has favored the home with children. As parents, we should perceive our children as gifts from God whom He has entrusted to our care. In these trying times of peer pressure and rebellion, it is quite a challenge to teach and train our children. However, God has not only given us the foundation, but also the formula for maintaining healthy family relationships. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth” (Ps. 127:4).
It is interesting that arrows are likened to children. The flight, direction and effect of an arrow depend on the way the arrow is polished, pointed and poised. Therefore, we must begin at a very early age to show affection and authority in setting emotional and disciplinary boundaries. We need to teach our children the Word of God, but we must go beyond teaching to training them. Training involves example, instruction, and discipline. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). We can have better Christian homes if we work at these six important steps.
By Emanuel John
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org