[reprinted from May 7, 2010]
“But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (WEB)
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. 22:39 A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (WEB)
What principles can I take away from God’s words about family?
If I am betting on having a ‘good’ family, make sure God is running the table. God must be Head of the House. He must be where the family turns not just in the crisis but every day. It must be more than prayers at meals and one hour on Sunday. In every aspect of the family life, God has to be a part of it.
It takes two parents. It is unfortunate that many times this does not mean that ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ are married to each other. But Mom and Dad need to be grown-ups and keep their eyes on what is best for the children, leaving their egos at home in the closet. Too often children become ‘collateral damage’ even ‘collateral casualties’ because their parents use them as tools to manipulate and supposedly inflict pain and inconvenience on the other spouse. Children need the gifts that each parent brings to their lives. They may have a non-biological parent(s) that bring a tremendous Godly impact as they show unconditional love that comes from their God-given overflow of love.
Children need to listen to their parents! Parents need to listen to their children! God listens to me no matter how many times I come whining. He listens and doesn’t ignore me because it’s trivial. I matter. God is my example. Taking time (or making time) to listen and speak words of encouragement, wisdom, love, and any thing that produces fruit in the lives of all members must be a priority in the family. Daily attention to my relationship with God shows me the importance of daily attention to my relationship to my family.
God’s love is sufficient. Receiving the love that God has for me fills me with the best love to spill out on to my family. It gives me extra measures that I may need. In my flesh, those that I love the most have the capacity to hurt me the most. God’s love is sufficient. His Spirit supplies me with the gifts of forgiveness and patience and kindness and – (see Galatians 5:22) self-control– that of course I will need! Every member of the family will need it!
Family begins and ends with God. He leads through the valleys and will carry every member through when they think they cannot make it. God is there in the celebrations, watching with joy when the family stands together and bends their knees in worship, prayer, and thanksgiving for all the many, many ways He has held them together with His mighty, gentle Hand.
If your family has always walked with God, do not take that blessing for granted but rejoice and give thanks every day for it! If you have not been part of a family that walks with God, grab on to His hand and start today! You and He together are a family. Watch how He is your Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, and Best Friend.
Thank You, Lord, for my family…ALL the generations!
Swingin’ With The Saints arranged by Mark Hayes, sung by Cincinnati Mens Chorus