A Heart for Family
By Lynette Kinsey
There are many different ideas about family in the world today. If it feels good and suits those involved, society seems to accept tearing down natural barriers and traditional family structures. In fact, the term, “traditional family” is often used in a condescending manner, implying that those who believe and hold to that ideal are somewhat old fashioned and possibly socially retarded. However, an honest look at family structure as God intended it will soon prove His way is best. Even without a biblical model, studies show that a family comprised of one husband and one wife, committed to one another for life is better off emotionally, financially, and physically, and that the children of such a union have a much better chance of growing to be productive members of society.
While it seems logical that we should protect our families and strive to attain the biblical model, we must deal with the fact that fewer intact families are coming into the church. Integrating fractured families into the family of God and teaching them that the promises of God are applicable to those who live by His principles will help each family unit to prosper. Single parents with children, blended families, and single persons living alone can all build a successful family by using the precepts of Scripture.
There are two principles that will help safeguard a family: a heart for God and a heart for family. Putting God first and your family directly beneath the umbrella of His love will provide safety and stability for the family unit.
God said, “I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him” (Genesis 18:19, NIV). Whether the head of the family is male or female, married or single, this precept holds true. The leader of the home has an obligation to direct his/her children and household in the ways of the Lord in order to reach their promised, godly destiny.
That does not always protect us from heartbreak and setback. Because human nature and human will is involved, spouses may still walk away. Children may still break your heart. If there was an unbeatable formula, surely God would have used it in the Garden of Eden to ensure that the idyllic paradise of Adam and Eve would never be tarnished. Instead, He gave them a free will, and the exercise of that free will in their choice to partake of that which was forbidden directly affected their future and that of their children.
This is a lesson we must never forget. Our choices concerning our families are a teaching tool, whether for good or for ill. And our children are watching and learning. Whatever their path in life, your choices reflected from a life directed by a passion for Jesus Christ and a passion for your family will lay a foundation that will serve them well in every aspect of their lives. Lessons learned at home about morality, financial stewardship, community, and spiritual life stay with us, even when we try to forget them. Knowing that our decisions are carving precepts on the hearts of our family members should be enough incentive to make the right ones.
A heart for family will guide you to make the right moral decisions. The divorce rate would decline dramatically if couples put their families first. It has been well documented that the children of divorce suffer serious disadvantages emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually. This alone should be enough to cause serious pause before considering the drastic step of ripping a family apart.
Recent statistics seem to reflect a declining divorce rate (though still extremely high) but this is because fewer couples are bothering to marry at all. Not only is this a bad idea for any children involved, it is directly opposed to God’s law. While these couples will argue that marriage vows do not make them a family, we can be sure that the lack of them certainly will not.
A heart for family will guide you to make the right financial decisions. God’s plan is right for every aspect of our lives. Following the principles of the scripture regarding tithing and offerings stability that cannot be improved upon. Further instruction regarding borrowing and good stewardship provides safeguards that will protect your home and family.
A massive burden of debt is plaguing our society and those in the church are not exempt. We often see young couples so overburdened with credit card debt that they cannot function. In most case, there is little material value to be shown for the huge bills that are arriving in the mail. Meals entertainment, and the desire for the latest gadgets can mount up high-dollar debt astonishingly fast. Often the first thing sacrificed is the tithe and things go downhill from that point while spending beyond our means may not be in sin, it is definely a weight. The writer of the Book of Hebrews urged us to lay aside every weight so that we could run the race. Financial burdens are the second most frequent problem brought to pastors, yet it is a problem that can be easily avoided.
Almost everyone struggles financially at some point in their lives skyrocketing gasoline prices, inflation, rising cost of healthcare and insurance are things that can pitch the budget of any family. Yet we know that God is faithful if we live responsibly. Putting the welfare of our family before purchasing the things we want but do not require will safeguard our finances.
A heart for your family will guide you to make the right social decisions. A mother who has a heart for your children will see they are well fed, rested, keeping up with their homework, and receiving adequate exercise. A father who is diligent and consistent in his work ethic teaches his children by example.
Your life is a lesson. When you vote and discuss current affairs around the dinner table, your children learn about civic responsibility. When you volunteer for the PTA they learn to make a difference inn their school for good. When you show respect to authority they learn to respect authority
A heart for your family will guide you to make the right spiritual decisions. Faithful church attendance, family prayer, and consistent living teach your children the importance of a godly lifestyle. The true exercise of godliness will manifest itself in a peaceable home where your children can prosper and grow. Nurturing out children’s spiritual development is an important as their physical development. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing we have done our best for our family. By our lives we are fulfilling the command in the book of Joel: “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to next generation” (Joel 1:3,NIV.)
From, “Pentecostal herald”/www.pentecostalherald.com/Page 24-26, by Lynette Kinsey
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