It’s inevitable and we’d do well to sober up about that eventuality. This world won’t be giving Christian parents help with raising their families to know and love the Lord any time soon.
We are surrounded by a culture that diminishes marriage, parenting, and family – at least the biblical definition of those relationships. You might call it, the way of the world. And for parents who pay attention to what is going on around them, it can be greatly discouraging at times.
What does it all mean for a family that refuses to accept the culture’s standards for how they think, act, and live?
God has a very specific perspective on how His people should conduct themselves, regardless of how dark are the times in which they live. Whether it’s Noah and his family leaving the ark, Lot in the midst of Sodom, the Israelites living in The Promised Land, early Christians listening to growls of hungry lions in the Roman Coliseum, or a discussion in the Church lobby about the latest R-rated movie, God’s call is always the same for the faithful . . .
Be holy as I am holy.
It is so easy for us to use our circumstances or other people’s actions as a reason (excuse) to explain why we can’t walk in holiness, but that doesn’t change the call of God to faithful families.
We may be surrounded by one thousand enemies and influences that seek to impede or destroy altogether the effort to raise a family for God’s glory but we’re still called to faithfulness in the midst of it all.
It is easier to be holy when you’re worshipping God in your prayer closet than it is walking through your day in this filth-saturated culture but, in one sense, that just doesn’t matter. Our circumstances and the people we encounter may change but, God doesn’t. In every era of history, God has always called His people to multi-generational faithfulness, one generation – one relationship – one person – one child at a time.
Are you in the lions’ den with Daniel or surrounded by godly people who love you, respect you, and have your best interests in mind? God’s call is the same to every person in every circumstance: Be holy as I am holy.
Dad, Mom, is your home a holy place?
That question starts with you and me, doesn’t it? Am I walking in holiness? Am I walking in purity, gentleness, humility, kindness, and in truth? For many (and for me repeatedly throughout my week) it’s time to take stock. Like about 5 minutes ago (literally) when I had to ask my 16 year old daughter to forgive me for my fleshly response to her in the middle of a task I was focusing on. Yes, Dad & Mom, a holy home starts with you and me.
I’m the kind of guy that wants to fix something ONE time – and one time only but I find in the process of sanctification along with the natural inclination of my flesh, it’s not a “one time” endeavor. Our spiritual lives, and especially being parents just isn’t like that. Certainly, this was part of what Jesus had in mind when he said, Take up your cross daily, and follow me.
I have to center my mind and heart every morning on God and His sovereign rule over my life. Just like the cross that killed Jesus body, so I have to take up my cross every day to, once again, kill the natural inclinations of my flesh. I have to be reminded, again and again, what I’m called to as a husband and parent. Jesus said, without me you can do nothing. Leading a faithful family means starting with your Leader, your Head, your Sovereign: Jesus Christ.
So, what does the “doing” part of being a faithful family look like? The Bible says that the Spirit of God is like the wind. Last time I checked, the wind was blowing all over the place, so you can pretty much count on The Spirit blowing through your faithful family differently than the Christian family down the street. But in every faithful family, Dad and Mom are:
1) Serious about denying themselves and following Jesus Christ.
2) Serious about discipling their children throughout the day, which is nothing more than walking with a yielded heart to Christ and telling your children about God from the Scriptures, and of what Jesus commanded.
3) Serious about loving each other, as an example to their children of how true Christian marriage is supposed to look and feel.
When I get overwhelmed in the moment and lose perspective on my role and responsibility as husband and parent in leading a faithful family (can you identify with that!) I need to get to a quiet place and reflect on the Spirit’s words found in the book of James – Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Isn’t that fantastic? When we draw near, God draws near to us. And, for those to whom God is near, He will eventually say, Well done my good and faithful servant.
God bless you as you lead your faithful family.
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).