“UNLESS THE LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE, THEY LABOR IN VAIN WHO BUILD IT” – PSALM 127:1
Families are to be built upon loving and worshiping the Lord God with all our hearts, with all of their strength, with all of their bodies, minds and souls.
In our marriages, raising children, building up and edifying our families, are “cultural icons, technological idols” undermining such a genuine worship?
Are there practices and values we need to confess, repent of, and forsake?
As Parents, are there priorities we need to faithfully reevaluate?
Is there a place for genuine “faith in God” in our homes and in our families?
Are there “faith-filled” “faith-testing” matters we need to prayerfully discuss with our spouses and then frankly share the results with our children?
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14).
Is there such a thing as “Painless Parenting?
Pain – even excruciating pain – is a natural part of the family process in our broken world.
Women know better than anyone that pain is how the family got started. And the aches and the pains, the hurts and the hassles, will continue to intrude into the parenting pathways through the years – whether we like it or not.
That is why a vital faith in Jesus Christ is so utterly crucial to a ‘happy’ family.
God equips us through faith to meet all of the challenges of parenting and raising a ‘Godly’ family in these 2022 days of idolatry and brokenness.
Even in the most toxic of environments which constantly challenge “Faith” in the context of faithfully holding together faithful, faith-filled mom, dad, kids.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9Amplified Bible
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your [a]children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. 8 And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand (forearm), and they shall be used as [b]bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the [c]doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
WHY IS FAITH IMPORTANT TO FAMILIES?
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently published a paper that concludes that a religious upbringing is linked to better health and well-being during early adulthood.
At first, when I read this, I thought this was great news, since we’ll literally do anything to improve our kids’ chances of being happy and healthy adults, right?
Then I started considering the real-world reasons why we think faith in God is important to our family.
It’s a lot more complicated than our, as parents, or stepparents, just wanting, willing, them to be well-adjusted adults, though that’s apparently of a great benefit and blessing too.
So why is it important to us to raise our kids in the Christian faith?
The 2022 fact is that a lot of young people take a break from their church-going habits as young adults, “stretch their wings,” explore their life” then return to their Christian roots and practices when they get married and have children.
There’s something about raising families, bringing kids up in a church, with the habits and lessons of Sunday School, worship and service that we, as adults, feel is good for our families and pleasing in the sight of the Lord our God. (Verse 7)
Maybe part of that “something” is knowing that the Christian faith has truly provided billions of Christians for thousands of years the spiritual tools for approaching our earthly lives with courage, peace, community, hope and love.
Modern bookshelves are filled with books about how to lead healthy, happy lives (and how to raise well-adjusted kids) and the lessons look similar to those the bible has taught for millennia.
Scripture teaches us lessons about love, forgiveness, compassion, community, loyalty, praise, grace, trust, overcoming adversity, gratitude and perseverance.
We are given commandments that help us, and our communities stay on course.
We are taught to take time to pray, providing important moments of praise, and very desperately needed moments of peace, reflection, conversations with God, our Creator and our Father, which are physically and spiritually edifying and ethically and morally healing to our bodies and our souls.
And our Christian identity provides a powerful framing to understand self-worth rooted in God’s unconditional love and purpose.
These are just some of the foundational elements of our faith that create fertile ground for cultivating a life well lived.
Certainly, our faith does not guarantee an easy life.
Growing and cultivating that “most perfect of Roses” still comes with thorns.
As adolescents, teenagers, emerging adults and throughout our adult lifetimes, we will face severe, even catastrophic adversity, cultural opposition, deep loss, betrayal, societal conflict and suffering that will challenge and test our beliefs.
God’s message from thousands of years ago, from that barren wilderness is still incredibly relevant, perhaps even more so in the year of our Lord 2022.
There is no shortage of “complexities” which today’s families must navigate.
Considering our socio-economic, socio cultural, counter-cultural complexities, Families in all stages desperately need a strong faith foundation to live through the challenges and the questions, return to scripture, consult our mentors, lean deeply, heavily into our Christian communities, and recall the power of prayer.
So, we can consider faith-building as an essential part of our job as parents and stepparents “to faithfully prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.”
Our own journey of faith gives us an enduring, perhaps even wiser, relationship with an ever-present Father, Son and Holy Spirit, along with a whole toolbox of “soft and hardcore” lessons, resources that helped us through our earthly lives.
And it gives us the gift of a community of believers who share our commitment to each other and the teachings of Jesus to love God and serve the world.
And finally, it gives us the sacred promise and Shalom of eternal life when we have faithfully’ done all we believe we can when we come to the end of this one.
It is our responsibility to pass on these awesome gifts to the next generation.
So, we faithfully try to keep our kids closely by our sides upon our own more experienced Christian journeys, teaching them the gifts of a relationship with God along with the responsibility to care for and minister to others as Jesus did.
Verse 7 We teach, lead, pray, show and then hopefully send them out into the world with their Christian toolbox abundantly filled with faith, hope and love.
And along the way, the wisdom of God, from God, becomes abundantly clear to them that “it’s not what you leave for them, it’s who and what you leave in them.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 speaks of the central truth for developing a godly family:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
Ephesians 6:1-4 Amplified Bible
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord [that is, accept their guidance and discipline as His representatives], for this is right [for obedience teaches wisdom and self-discipline]. 2 Honor [esteem, value as precious] your father and your mother [and be respectful to them]—this is the first commandment with a promise— 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may have a long life on the earth.
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Consider Ephesians 6:1, for example: Children, obey your parents in the Lord [that is, accept their guidance and discipline as His representatives], for this is right [for obedience teaches wisdom and self-discipline].
Children, obey your Parents – How? IN THE LORD!
That means Children of God, Mom and Dad obey God, your Father –
How? IN THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Or Husbands read Ephesians 5:25-30
25 Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], 27 so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless. 28 Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members (parts) of His body.
Or Wives read Ephesians 5:22-24
Marriage Like Christ and the Church
22 Wives, be subject [a]to your own husbands, as [a service] to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is head of the church, Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything [respecting both their position as protector and their responsibility to God as head of the house].
HUSBANDS, WIVES BE SUBJECT TO ONE ANOTHER AS SUBJECT TO THE LORD!
All of these instructions to the family wrap around the central core of faith in:
God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!
Do not try to build your family without faith in Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Throw yourselves upon the full weight of His grace and mercy and say to Him:
“Lord! I know, We know, that apart from You, I, We, can do nothing but mess this gift of family up. So, I am, We are, going to hang on to You, with all of our hearts, with all of our souls, with all of our bodily and spiritual strength, with all of our minds, with both hands, with both sets of our aching and tired feet. Together, with You, I, We, will make this family work unto Your glory alone!”
Being a “Godly” family is such a big responsibility.
A family’s love, emotional presence, approval, and support for their children—from their early lives, through their teenage years, and beyond—is a significant factor in helping them to become secure, able to love and give to others.
On the other hand, a lack of love from a family can contribute to various kinds of anxiety and insecurity in relationships and in life functioning.
Fatherhood and Motherhood matters so much.
Yet, obviously, painfully, neither is an easy task.
That’s why the words of God from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:22-30 and 6:1-4 are so foundational, edifying helpful for us.
Moses and Paul here give instructions to fathers and mothers. It’s not a detailed manual for exactly what to do in every situation. But what Moses says, and Paul says, here is fundamental, goes a long way to helping us see how to be a family.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
God, our Father, show us your children loving devotion and grant us your deliverance. As Mothers and Fathers and Families, incline your ear and answer us, for we are challenged by great hardship. Restore us, O God of our salvation.
We ask for a miracle from heaven for our families, that we may rejoice in you. Surely your rescue is near to those who reverently fear you. O Lord, we praise you that your righteousness looks down from heaven. We praise you that you will indeed provide our families what is good, and we will see increase. Amen.