The Family’s Function Toward God


This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Five Functions of a Faithful Family

We’ve just spent 10 weeks together working through how the different members of the family should function towards one another.  The family is the most vital building block of society, not only because it’s first in line, but because the family is a direct reflection of the godhead.  Our God: Father, Son and Spirit is one God operating in perfect communion.  The Father sends the Son, and the Father and Son send the Spirit.  God the son submits to the father in full equality – as does the Spirit of God.  How Christian family members function towards one another is supposed to be a visible representation of the nature and Character of God on Earth.

The summary of relationships is simple and demands a repeat.

Husbands bear the chief responsibility in their homes.  A godly man will sacrificially Love, Lead, Live with and Laugh with His wife.  He will honor her, protect her, guide her towards Christ, and provide for her every emotional, spiritual and physical need.  Husbands, Love your wife as Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior Loves the church.

Wives, you in turn are commanded to Submit to, Support and Strengthen your husband’s position of leadership in the home.

Parents are commanded to bring your children up in the faith of Jesus Christ, disciplining towards righteousness and focusing every energy on developing Christ-likeness in your children.

Children are called to Obey, Submit to and above all to Honor their parents throughout their lives.

That however is only four Functions of a faithful family.  The Fifth function is reflected in how the family as a whole relates not merely to each other, but to the world at large and most importantly to God – from whom all these individual commands are expressed.

LOVE

Nowhere is the family’s duties towards God more adequately spelled out than in Deuteronomy chapter 6.  The chief law of all the laws was given to family units.
(Deuteronomy 6:5)
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (NASB95)

There is no greater task for the family than loving God.   And in many ways there is no greater challenge.

If you think about the way most of your families respond to God, is your love towards God consistent?  How do you express that love to God?  Do you worship together as a family in any way outside of church?  Worship’s essence involves more than music.

I would venture to say that for most Christian families in America today – the struggle to incorporate family worship into a daily part of your family suffers at the hands of too many commitments already on the plate.

With or without children in the family, there is always more to do than there is time to do it in.

I think D.L. Moody said it best “If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it, you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.”[1]

If your family is running in every direction and at the end of it all you haven’t the time to invest towards Loving God, than you – my friend are extended beyond what God would have.  And righteousness would require that you scale back.

Loving God as a family can take place in two different arena’s Structured Time and Unstructured time. [2]

Structured time with God can be anything from praying together before dinner, or before bed, or even in the morning when you all get up.  It’s not really important WHEN you set time apart to Love God as a family unit.  What’s important is that as husband and wife alone or with children – setting apart a specific time on your calendar to daily be in God’s presence to love him should take high priority on your list.

While structured family worship appears to be the ideal, you and I both know that it breaks down.  We make grandiose plans to have daily family devotions, and the very same night we find ourselves too tired or we plain forget our commitment until the night is late and we’ve decided to go off to bed.

I don’t want to discourage a set time by any means, but more often than not, it’s the unstructured times with God that will have the greatest impact on your family.  It’s easy to go into faithful mode when the family bible is pulled off the shelf.  But the lasting effects will come when – in completely unplanned ways – you draw parallels between real life and the scriptures.

Marshall Shelley tells a simple story which explains the concept.  One morning, while working in the kitchen a woman spilled hot oil on her hand.  Instantly the young boy piped up and declared that they should pray for mommy before taking her to the hospital for the severe burns.  Most of us would have to confess that our reaction might be to brush aside the prayer request as quaint because “Real help is needed”.  But they stopped and prayed.  To this day that woman has no scar on her hand, “and guess who brags on God’s healing power the most?”[3]

Every day you have opportunities to make our very real God a real part of your real life.  That’s part of what it means to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

On top of loving God as a family which takes time, a family ought to function towards God with Faith…

FAITH

Hebrews 11:6 reads, “And without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (NASB95)

Every family experiences tests of faith.  It’s no different for us, than for the people in the Bible.  Beginning with Abraham who believed God and had it credited to him as righteousness, God has been looking for people who trust him.

In Second Chronicles Hanani the prophet tells the king, (2 Chronicles 16:9) For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His… (NASB95)

Every Christian can accept difficulties either with or without faith.  With faith we look to God first as our source of hope and help.  Without it, we grumble and worry.  What is the predominant Characteristic in your household?  Is it worry and complaining, or a quiet trust that whatever the current crisis, God is still God and he is able to help you bear the burden?  The answer to that question is the answer to how central faith is in your household.

A faithful family Loves God and trusts him through every circumstance.  And a faithful family also serves him.

SERVICE

Enclosed in that same key passage of Deuteronomy 6 is the thirteenth verse Deuteronomy 6:13 “Fear the LORD your God, serve him only…” (NIV)

Joshua repeats the admonition (Joshua 22:5) “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” “(NASB95); 1 Sam. 12:24; Matt. 4:10; Lk. 4:8

The primary act of service to God is that of worshipping him, and it brings us full circle back to the concept of loving Him.  But our families are also called to Serve God in the specific sense of working for Him.  For Israel, service to God is set in opposition to 1) service to Pharaoh, which was slavery and 2) serving the idols of the nations which is idolatry.

In that context then, what service are you giving to God?

It is all too easy “to forget [God],” who delivered us “from the house of bondage,” and to serve “other gods”—the gods of money, power, and prestige. When we take the bounty of his gifts for granted and enjoy them at the expense of others, we are on dangerous ground, for God is “a jealous God” (6:15). He will not tolerate our serving another master, however legitimate our actions may be in our own eyes.[4]

Is it part of your family life to serve and focus on God, or is your focus somewhere else.  Let me close with this very simple admonition: (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (NASB95)

Beginning today, establish God as the true Lord of your house.  Submit yourself to do HIS will, and give yourselves over to him completely.

AMEN.

 



[1]Shelley, Marshall. Vol. 16, The Healthy Hectic Home : Raising a Family in the Midst of Ministry. The Leadership library. Carol Stream, Ill.; Dallas: Christianity Today; Word Pub.; Distributed by Word Books, 1988.

[2]Shelley, Marshall. Vol. 16, The Healthy Hectic Home : Raising a Family in the Midst of Ministry. The Leadership library. Carol Stream, Ill.; Dallas: Christianity Today; Word Pub.; Distributed by Word Books, 1988.

[3]Shelley, Marshall. Vol. 16, The Healthy Hectic Home : Raising a Family in the Midst of Ministry. The Leadership library. Carol Stream, Ill.; Dallas: Christianity Today; Word Pub.; Distributed by Word Books, 1988.

[4]Christensen, Duane L. Vol. 6A, Word Biblical Commentary : Deuteronomy 1-21:9. Word Biblical Commentary, Page 147. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.

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