Raising Christ-Like Families in a Secular World

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We live in a society that has tarnished biblical parenthood.  Our society has slowly taken males out of the equation of the family. Men, as shown by comic strips, TV, etc., are shown to be ignorant, immature and unable to do simple tasks. Both the husband and wife have a responsibility to the development of children as well as the structuring of the home–though, the responsibilities will look differently. Unfortunately, fathers have been made the inept individuals who have become the joke of even children’s books (like the Berenstain Bears).
We, as men, need to become better leaders both in society as well as the home, and this does Not mean degrading others (especially women), but it means living as God has called us to be…as selfless and sacrificial individuals that shepherd our family towards the likeness of Christ. [Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 5:25-33; Titus 2:1-9….]  Many of todays men have grown up in families where the mom raised all the children spiritually, educationally, and even physically.  Men, as told by the society, were supposed to work hard at work, then come home and act like  “men,” which means coming home and sitting on the couch at night and going to bed to do it over again.  Of course, this is not the case in every circumstance, and I would never want to downgrade those who have raised men and women for Christ, but there is a pandemic of young (becoming older) Christians who don’t know what it means to be a man or woman for God.
Thus, here are a few biblical thoughts that can inform the thinking of Christians living in a society whom does not treat biblical manhood or womanhood correctly.

Passage 1:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9

6 “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

First, Deuteronomy 6 demonstrates the high importance of training the generations to trust and fear the LORD.  It starts when the former generation (the parents) to understand who God is.  Deuteronomy 6 shows that the obedience of God is an aspect which can be taught and trained into children.  This responsibility does not rest solely upon the women, put primarily on the men, whom will be shown as the head of the households in Ephesians.

Passage 2:  Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Secondly, Ephesians 5:22-33 gives great insight to the order of wives and husbands.  The first part of the passage is often controversial, but it doesn’t need to be.  This “submission” does not denote being a “doormat.”  It says “…as to the Lord” (5:22).  Submission is a good thing.  Again, the context does Not imply that the wife ought to be “a yes man;” what it shows is humble respect for the man whom is supposed to be leading as Christ led.  This creates more responsibility on the man to lead the family in a Christ-like manner.  If the man is leading as Jesus led, then the environment of humility is already fostered within the household.  “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (5:25).  Notice, “…the two shall become one flesh” which is a mystery (5:31-32).  Within Christian doctrine God is considered 3 persons in one (the Trinity).  Each member (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) act in different ways (responsibilities), but yet, they are one in the same!  This aspect should draw our attention back to “…the two shall become one flesh,” which Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24.  Just as the Trinity is a mystery, so is two people joining to become one.  Throughout the entirety of the Old Testament one is able to see how God treats the nation of Israel as his wife, and uses the covenant made at Mount Sinai as the wedding day.  This husband/wife metaphor is a prominent figure throughout the Bible.  [The whole book of Hosea depicts Israel as the unfaithful wife and God as the loving yet just husband.]  [To know more about the Husband/Wife relationship connection with the Trinity, read  Father, Son, & Holy Spirit by:  Bruce A. Ware]  Click Amazon for link.

Passage 3:  Titus 2:1-8

 2 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

The last biblical reference can be found within Titus 2:1-8.  The apostle Paul knew the importance of raising up men to lead the church as well as families.  Thus, he had much correspondence with Timothy and Titus.  This passage is instructive to older men, older women, younger women, and younger men.  Notice the strong use of “train” and “teach” within the passage–again, pointing back to Deuteronomy chapter 6.  Paul is demonstrating the importance of leading, training, and teaching those in the faith.  How much more ought one train their children?  How much more should the family be at the fronts of our minds?  The writing to Titus shows the importance of discipling our families And those within the church (especially those without families).

Conclusion

There are so many aspects within our societies that try to influence the minds of those that are in the family.  If a family (or child) watches TV for 3-6 hours a day, then there is a lot of influence coming from a secular worldview.  God has given a heavy and wonderful responsibility for parents, and it is a responsibility that one cannot push to the side.

Praticale Applications:

1.  Have family devotional times–During this time read the Bible; talk about it as a family.  It does not have to be a sermon.  If you are unsure of your knowledge, then read books to aid the study time; ask your pastor.  Anyone is capable, with the help of the Holy Spirit and others, to understand the Bible clearly.
2.  Create a Family Worship time–Maybe sing a song before dinner, after dinner, or before bedtime.  Sing to God; he is the reason why we worship.
3.  Pray–Pray all the time.  Pray when you go to bed.  Pray when you eat.  Pray when you drive to work.  Pray with the children when you drop them off at school.  Pray with your spouse every night.  Take prayer requests.  Pray for missionaries, the church, struggles, school, friends, neighbors….
4.  Read a chapter of a book of the Bible every morning before people leave for work or school.  I recommend reading proverbs to the children!  There are 31 chapters in proverbs; so, one can finish that book in a month.
5.  Find time–I have heard it said that people make time for the important things in life.  Truly, if the family spends more time separately, in their individual rooms, then they are saying that they value personal space more than the time together.  Make raising a Christ-like family a priority.

Other Resources

A small, great book one could read personally is ApParent Privilege by:  Steve Wright with Christ Graves.  [Click Amazon to see the book].
For Church Ministries:
Family Ministry Field Guide:  How your Church can Equip Parents to make Disciples by:  Timothy Paul Jones [Click Amazon].
Trained in the Fear of God:  Family Ministry in Theological, Historical, and Practical Perspective  by:  multiple authors. [Click Amazon]
Peacemaking for the Families by:  Ken Sande [Click Amazon]


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