15th of September
Last time my focus was on all the things that do not function and how the devil tries to destroy God’s plans for the family. This time I want to emphasize how a Christian family should function.
Adam and Eve were called husband and wife from the very beginning. In 1.Chor.7:2 we read: “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” God is against free sex. It should take place within the frame of a marriage. It continues to say that the man should render to his wife the affection due to her and she should do likewise. None of them have the authority over their own body, but the other part does. I do not believe that God encourages any kind of forceful behavior since it starts by encouraging affection. They should not deprive each other of sex unless they agree and during times of fasting and praying. Paul says that this is to avoid temptations from the devil. He does say that he would like to see more people unmarried, but if that is difficult, he encourages both the unmarried and the widows to get married. God speaks about the marriage between a man and a woman and they should increase, in other words, get children.(Gen1:28)
We can in the old Testament read that a man had many wives, but that was not the original plan of God. In the beginning God says one wife. In 1.Tim.3 we read about God’s demands for bishops and deacons and it says clearly that they should have one wife. The Bible is clear on this. It is just as clear that it is a man and a woman who should become one flesh. We can’t add and remove the Word according to our own desires. God’s Word is true and the Truth sets us fee.
In my Bible a part of Ephesians 5 is called “The marriage – Christ and the Church.” The husband is encouraged to become like Christ. In verse 25 we read:” Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” In verse 28 it says that the husband ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. “He who loves his wife, loves himself.” I purposely write that the husband should be like Christ before I write that the wife should submit to her own husband. It is not so easy to submit to an evil man, but that is not God’s plan. The man should give himself to her and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word. It is not at all difficult to look upon one’s husband as head of the family when he follows these principles. The difficulties arise when he follows his own flesh and desires.
We have to-day more and more divorces also among Christians and it is high time to go back to God’s principles for marriage. I doubt that we have any other relationship that needs more crucifying of the flesh than the marriage. You are so vulnerable. We have a slogan saying that those who pray together, stay together. I really believe in that. I encourage couples to pray together daily. It isn’t so easy to quarrel when you have been together before the Throne. Besides that, there is power in prayers. One can ask for protection, come before Him with concrete prayer requests and thank Him for answering your prayers. You are guaranteed answers when you pray according to His will. I also recommend them to share the Word of God together. It gives food to the spirit and will influence the soul and the body. Practice Bible-reading and praying together before you get married! If it doesn’t function then, do not believe that it will function after you get married.
I will now write about the children. They are meant to be born into a family with a mother and a father. The Bible writes a lot about mothers and fathers and they are often used as examples of God’s love and concern for you. The Bible also writes a lot about the way parents should treat their children and how children should treat their parents. I will refer to some Bible verses. In psalm 103:13 we read: “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.” It is clear that a father should show mercy to his children. In Col.3:21 it says the fathers should not provoke their children, lest they become discouraged. God wants a loving father. In order to show mercy and love, he has to spend time with them. We have seen classical examples of neglecting fathers in front of the television or behind a newspaper, and they have hardly time to answer their children with one word. The children are eager to show their mother and father what they have seen and done during the day. There must be a time for this. The parents must also take some time for the whole family to share the Word and pray together. How long and how to do this depends on the age-group of the children. It should be a positive experience for everybody. A three years old child does not have patient to sit quietly for very long. I have been in homes where the father is either absent or is not saved and I have recommended the mother to collect the children for a time of worship. This should be done openly and not behind the father’s back.
The Bible talks about how to raise children. In Eph.6:4 we read: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training of admonition of the Lord.”
We continue to read from 1.Thess.2:11 “As you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged everyone of you, as a father does his own children. In Heb.12:6 we read: “For whom the Lord loves, He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” We read in the same chapter that if the father doesn’t chasten you, you are a illegitimate child. We can discuss the methods used for chastening. Some of it is dependant on cultural background. Personally, I am for concrete and clear limits and they should be kept no matter how much the children hustle and bustle. The children should also know the consequences of crossing the limits. It should not come by surprise. I might give a few examples of such limits. I believe that children should sit quietly when they eat and not be allowed to roam around. If that is a rule, it should be kept. If the child doesn’t listen when you talk to him, take the child and put him down on the floor or the chair. The child should know that the mother and father are the authorities of the home, not the child. I also believe in certain rules around bedtime. So often too much is left to the child. I believe that it is good for the child that the mother or the father is with the child when they should go to sleep. They can end the day with some reading and a prayer. One should not allow the child to get up ten times after they have said “good night.”
The Bible is also clear about the fact that children should show the parents respect. We can go to Eph.6. We read in the first verse: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. In Deut.5:16 it says: “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” This is an admonition followed by a promise. It is not easy to honor all parents, but you can always thank God for the fact that they have given you life. You can ask for wisdom to love them, maybe more in spite of than because of. We serve a God Who loves us unconditionally. The family should be a place where we can be ourselves, even with our faults, but still knowing that we are loved in spite of.
LET THE FAMILY BECOME A CORNERSTONE OF THE CHURCH, A PLACE OF LOVE AND RESPECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!