Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
One of the greatest gifts that God has given us is our family. Other than the Lord, your family ought to be the number one passion in your life. Not your work, your ministry, or your hobbies. God has entrusted you to lead, nurture, teach, and love your family. Your family is your highest call!
Culture has polluted the biblical definition of what a family should be. Primetime TV and sitcoms have defined the family with an irresponsible and clueless dad, a mom who has her own agenda, and children who are not under authority and are disconnected from their parents, and siblings. Basically, the average family unit is a mess. There is no closeness to each other, and time together is “endured” and not enjoyed.
Does that define your family? Are you one unit that is going in the same direction? Do you enjoy each other or are you enduring each other? Don’t get me wrong all families go through “moments.”We will have some “road bumps” in our family but our family should not go through long seasons of anger or division. Don’t accept this as normal! See and analyze the problem and get answers from the Word of God.
So, what are some habits that you can do to develop closeness as a family? As I have watched successful families, I have noticed things that I have tried to “graft” into my family.
Have fun- Life gets busy but always “call an audible” and take time to have fun! Whether it is a dinner at a restaurant, a hike, or a day out at a theme park, plan something regularly and have fun with each other.
Praise and celebrate each other’s victories- successful families praise each other. When a brother does well in sports, congratulate him. When a sister gets straight A’s, tell her she is a great student. When a mom cooks a delicious meal, compliment her culinary excellence. When a dad makes a wise decision or leads the family into some type of victory, endear his faithfulness, love for the Lord, and hard work.
Problems are easy to point out, but praise is hard work. Think about all the great attributes God has given your family and focus on them. Applaud each other! Cheer each other on! Successful families are families that build each other up.
Faithful to church and the Lord- A successful family will have a conviction of the importance of attending church. Other than if you are ill, church attendance should be a huge priority in a Christian family. When our family sees that we mean “business” regarding church attendance, it will help them establish a habit and a conviction about the importance of being in God’s house. “Casual and occasional Christians,” will always produce a weak and water down faith for the next generation.
Work out problems right away- Families will have their share of problems! The difference between a healthy family and a broken family is that a healthy family will “talk it out” and forgive each other. It might be hard to“give up your rights,” but a loving family will see the bigger picture. The Bible says that only by pride comes contention. We need to put our pride behind us and forgive each other.
See God work in your family- Have your family involved in your ministry. Have them see people that you are disciplining and nurturing in the Lord. Have them go soul-winning with you and make visits with you. Include them in your service for the Lord at church.
Create family traditions- Do things together and have traditions. It might be a yearly family vacation, a small family getaway, a holiday meal, or a family celebration, get everyone to get involved in planning and preparing. Get everyone’s ideas. Help to make everyone feel a part of the decision-making.Take a lot of pictures and talk about the awesome memories that you will or have made.
You might have more things that have helped your family be successful. In no way are these all of them but these are some ideas to help you enjoy your family and not “endure” your family. May I advise you to sit down and analyze how your family is doing? How healthy or successful is your family? How is your relationship with your family? If it is trending upwards then keep it up and get ideas to make your family bond stronger. If your family seems a bit “fractured,” work on it! Don’t settle for what you have. Learn your family and win their hearts! You don’t have to “endure” your family! You can by God’s grace, “enjoy” them as God intended for you to enjoy them!
Pastor Esposito would often say, “Wisdom is seeing and living life through God’s perspective.”
As we climb to new levels in our lives, we must be prepared to face new devils – challenges and opposition.