by Pastor Chris Davis
When you think about family what comes to mind? Maybe you have thoughts about mom or dad? Or, maybe you think about some pleasant experiences that you had while growing up like family vacations or profound teaching moments. For some, you may recall negative experiences that cause you to loathe the idea of family.
Understanding God’s idea for family has fascinated me. The Bible shows us that family was a part of God’s original plan for mankind. It’s a simple, but profound thought. Just think, regardless of how connected (or disconnected) one may be with his/her family, it is God ordained that every single human being is born into one. Here’s a working definition of family: a relational system that’s meant to provide a social environment conducive to the free flow of love, stewardship, and accountability throughout the greatest gift given by God — life. Unfortunately, because of original sin the family unit has been plagued with all kinds of dysfunction.
Here’s a working definition of family: a relational system that’s meant to provide a social environment conducive to the free flow of love, stewardship, and accountability throughout the greatest gift given by God — life.
If you take an objective look, it’s clear that some of the challenges experienced by families are a result of diabolical attacks on the institution of family. Here’s the problem: when we allow our understanding of the role of family in society to be shaped by our personal challenges or the perspectives projected by pop-culture, we position ourselves to live beneath the original intent that God has for our lives.
I want to share 3 keys that have changed how I see family:
Family is built around Love.
My pastor once preached a life-changing sermon series on marriage and family entitled The Love Triangle. The idea behind the love triangle is that a godly marriage is between one man and one woman who love each other, with God in the middle. (Click on one of the links to see the series for yourself!)
The purpose of marriage far extends the meeting of a persons need for love.
In the Bible, God’s idea of family starts in Genesis 2:18 with the statement, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (NIV).
It’s vital that we understand that a Biblical marriage is between a man and a woman who unconditionally love each other and are committed to meeting each other’s needs.
I must admit I’m thankful towards God for seeing that it’s not good for the man to be alone. I say this fully acknowledging that my wife is the rockstar of our home. Can you imagine how miserable the world would be if God didn’t create version 2.0 called woman?
The purpose of marriage far extends the meeting of a person’s need for love, though that is of utmost importance. Families are the foundation of communities and any church that impacts it’s community must have strong families within it. I think its safe to say, “As goes the family, so goes the world.” As believers, we have an incredible opportunity to change the course of history by committing to doing family God’s way.
When children come into the picture, just like any added responsibility, it’s common to feel the pressure to attend to their every demand and neglect first things. Like Jesus said to the pharisees concerning tithing, “These things you ought to have done without leaving the others undone.” (Mat 23:23, NKJV). In this case, marriage is a “first thing”. When it comes to weighing the priority of marriage vs. children, I once heard pastor Jimmy Evans say, “The best thing that you can give your kids is a picture of two parents in love.” Wow!
“The best thing that you can give your kids is a picture of two parents in love.” — Pastor Jimmy Evans
Have you allowed secondary responsibilities to take you away from first things?
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you some practical things that you can do to put first things first.
Family is designed to leave a legacy of Blessing.
Have you ever prayed about God’s assigned purpose for your family?
In 2017, the Lord began to convict and challenge me with the idea of my responsibility as a father. I’d taken my family to Washington, D.C. for a short vacation trip. We visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument. I stood there with my wife and 12-month old son, and began to reflect on our history as a nation and the impact of one man’s life. I became overwhelmed with emotion because, in that moment, I considered what the result of my life would be. Relatedly, Washington, D.C. also happened to be the last place that my mom visited before she passed away a few years prior. Standing there, I saw the great responsibility that I have as a leader in the African-American community but more importantly, as a father, to be an example of Godliness and character but even more so, to be able to leave a spiritual and financial legacy.
Earlier that year, the Lord began to show me that He designed parameters around family to protect it, in that, as a man we are either going to leave a legacy of blessing or a legacy of curse. There’s no middle ground. Unfortunately, in our communities we see many examples of perpetuated curses and few examples of perpetuated blessing. We must be intentional about identifying what type of legacy we want to leave.
We are either going to leave a legacy of blessing or a legacy of curse. There’s no middle ground…We must be intentional about identifying what type of legacy we want to leave.
Praise God that, as we choose to walk in obedient faith, we can appropriate God’s blessing to our lives and families because of the shed blood of Christ.
I believe that God wants your family to not only advance His kingdom in this generation but also to leave a generational legacy of blessing and righteousness that lasts well after you’ve left the earth.
What would it look like if you left a Godly legacy of blessing to your children’s children?
God is in the family Redeeming-business
As I’ve mentioned, we all have some sort of dysfunction in the family we’re birthed into; some more than others. However, just because we came from or presently have family issues doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a plan for our families. We have to be determined to not let the enemy win.
When I gave my heart to the Lord as a 17-year old, I was really challenged to count the cost of following Christ when it came to obeying God or following my family’s plan for my life. I didn’t know that God was removing me from my comfort zone (for me it was dependence on my family) in order to prepare me for His purposes.
[F]orsaking all to follow Christ…really means being committed to unconditional obedience to God Almighty no matter who or what may come against it.
Sometimes, we have a tendency to think that forsaking all to follow Christ means to give up on our families. I believe this really means being committed to unconditional obedience to God Almighty no matter who or what may come against it. The truth is, God calls us out of our family of origin (Adam’s legacy of the curse) into Christ-the second Adam (the legacy of blessing) to redeem the blessings of life that were lost. He connects us to a spiritual family of believers, who aren’t perfect, but are on the same journey of faith — living the redeemed life. I firmly believe that the Lord’s promise to Cornelius applies to all believers: “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you and your household shall be saved”, because God is in the family redeeming business. (Acts 16:31).
The Lord Jesus went through great lengths to buy back God’s original idea of family. I have been empowered by the reality that, despite where I come from, in Christ, I now have the power to start over and build my life upon His Word, His will and His way. The big idea here is: it begins with me.
You may be experiencing some difficulties at home, but God has a plan for your family. I want to encourage you to put God first in your life no matter what and seek out a prayer partner in your local church to believe God with you for the salvation of your household or for whatever type of miracle you need.
Let’s start a conversation.
I hope these thoughts encourage you. If you have some thoughts or comments, please leave them below.
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