WHAT ABOUT FAMILY?
God wants you to have a happy home, whether you are mother, father, or child. He wants your home to be a place of love for everyone in it, a place where trust, companionship, and sharing are all alive. In such a home parents can express their deepest love, children can receive an unshakable foundation for their own homes of the future, and both parents and children can receive their truest insights into who God is. . .his way of love. . .the vital difference he can make in the lives of all people.
Sadly, not many homes today can be called happy. The divorce rate has never been higher. Juvenile delinquency is rampant. The drug problem penetrates millions of homes. The wreckers of morality and decency knock at every door. Families drift further and further apart.
Does Jesus have something to offer today's complicated family life? "Behold I stand at the door and knock," he says. But if we let him in, is he capable of solving our problems? The Bible says, "Yes!" Through Jesus Christ you and your family can encounter happiness wall to wall.
First of all, Christ gives us a new look at marriage. While on earth he showed his concern for homes. As a boy in Nazareth, he shared his parents' burden of earning a living. When he began his public ministry, he performed one of his first miracles at a wedding in Cana where he turned water into wine. As a traveling preacher, he often retreated to the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary in Bethany. Jesus loved to eat with them and to be with them. In fact, when Lazarus died, Jesus literally wept.
In the Garden of Eden, Jesus was the one who made the first home when he brought Adam and Eve together. Today, Jesus wants to be present in your home, too. He knows that all homes have problems. But these problems can be solved if Jesus is allowed to be Lord of the home. So, why not have him as Master? When you do, then you will have a home where you and others trust in God, and where you allow God to guide you through the rough places of family life. You will have a home where the presence of Christ will help you to love each other, and where his forgiveness rids the atmosphere of tensions and misunderstandings. Yes, Jesus gives a whole new look to a home.
We desperately need Jesus in our homes today, for there is an attack on the home as never before. Words, and more words, come crowding into our lives through advertising, television, radio, newspapers, billboards, multitudes of books and magazines, and on the lips of friends and enemies as well as those of husbands and wives. Words asking for decision and change and often trying to brainwash youand your family. Words and images that try to dig past your conscious thoughts and bury themselves in the subconscious. They cut grooves into our ways of thinking, shaping our desires and trying to make us one of the crowd. A battle is raging for the mind as never witnessed before. An enemy is seeking to destroy your home because he knows that a Christian home is the strongest fortification against evil and immorality.
What do you listen to? How can you make the right choices? How can you guide your loved ones to greater happiness and richer lives? The answer is to make full use of help outside your own resources. This help is available in Jesus Christ, the Creator of the home, and he can re-create your home into a haven of peace and love.
Jesus can perform miracles in any home, even those filled with hatred. He can create new people and release the explosive power of love that they possess. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17, RSV)
You see, the basic problem in unhappy homes is the problem of sin and selfishness, and everyone of us has that problem to some extent, for the Bible says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) The natural thing is for us to go our own way in selfishness. The prophet Isaiah described it well: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way." (Isaiah 53:6)
Out of seeking our own way come the basic problems between people. Out of this selfishness arise tensions with family members. Christ is able to turn all that around, for he is entirely unselfish. He is the man for others. Through his love and power in us, we become like him. He will help to restore right relationships between us and God and between us and others.
Do you want this miracle to happen in your life, so you in turn can bring peace and added happiness to your home? Then let Jesus come more fully into your life. Make your daily prayer one of trust and commitment to him. Pray, "Lord, I am a sinner. That's why I need you. I want you to step into my life and transform my thoughts, my ways, and my actions. I place my trust in you and am willing to be remade into a new creation."
After this newness begins to come into your life, you must take steps to keep and deepen it. The best way is through daily prayer and Bible study. Prayer in the home holds a father and mother closer together. Prayer for and with the family members unites the family in unbreakable bonds. Just a few minutes every day for the family to be together in Bible study, in sharing of concerns, and in prayer will build a strong family foundation. The family is like a wheel: The closer the spokes come to the hub, the closer they are to each other. In a Christian home, Jesus is the hub, and the closer we come to him, the closer we come to each other in mutual love and support.
In the beginning, when God created man, He saw that Adam needed someone like him for companionship, someone on his own level, yet different. Adam needed someone to love and with whom to share the wonders of creation, so God made a partner, a helpmate for him. Adam called her Eve. "And Adam said, `This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. . .' Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:23,24) God planned for the husband and wife to form a partnership. This is another answer to the building of a happy home. Husband and wife were not meant to be two separate people but one.
Ruth in the Old Testament expressed it this way: "Whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; where thou diest, I will die; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." (Ruth 1:16:17) A modern missionary put it this way: "Love you? I am you!" Two lives become one, sharing in a single adventure together, growing together, and forming a home together. Anything that touches one cannot help but touch the other. Marriage is meant to be a true partnership.
But for a home to be truly happy, a third partner must be taken in: God. If you want your marriage and your home to continually grow in happiness and love, then invite God to be a vital part of your home. As you let him guide you and change you, you will grow closer and closer with your loved ones. God will give you power to sympathize with those who hurt, forgive and help those who are weak, and draw close to those who are lonely. Let the Lord build your home as a third partner. "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." (Psalm 127:1)
(Please read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 before proceeding)
This is the apostle Paul's great love poem to the church at Corinth and to us today. But in this life of irritations, frustrations, and ragged nerves, how can we come close to living up to that tremendous standard of love? Only through the power of the love of Christ dwelling in us. As the Bible says, "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." (Ephesians 5:25)
With God in your life, you will have the power and motivation to love others, even when it might be difficult. You will look upon your wife or husband as God's special gift to you and your children as God's special trust. In Jesus you will find the key to lovingothers and placing them first. For Jesus said, "I came to serve, not to be served." (Matthew 20:28) Genuine love regards another person's needs as more important than one's own needs. Love places others above self. Only through Christ living in us can we consistently live an unselfish life like that.
Jesus will help us do one of the hardest things we ever have to do, especially as parents, that is to admit our mistakes. The Christian knows that he is a sinner forgiven by God's grace. His promise is found in Isaiah: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
Forgiveness gives birth to forgiveness. When we are forgiven, we find it much easier to admit our faults to those we have hurt. What a blessing such an open spirit of forgiveness brings to a home! No wonder the Bible tells us to "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32) This spirit of forgiving and tenderness will enable us to stand by our loved ones through thick and thin. With God's help, we recognize that growth and closeness often come through difficulties and through the daily rubbing of shoulders in a family unit.
As long as we are human beings subject to sin, we will have problems in our homes. But with Christ's gift of understanding and love, we can move together through those problems and find creative solutions. The family is bound together not by a lack of problems, but by working together to solve them. Christ also helps us to live our Christian faith. With his help no longer do we have to tell our loved ones, "Do as I say, not as I do." Rather, we will give them a living, fleshed-out example of faith and trust in our loving Savior. Our loved ones will see that our faith is vitally important to us and that it works. There can be no better testimony of God's love than loving parents.
Parents must acquaint their children with spiritual resources while they are young, helping them to see God in the world around them and in their parents. How wonderful it is when our children can think, "We know Mom and Dad are serious about Jesus Christ. We saw their trust in him every day. We felt God's love coming to us through them."
Jesus is ready and able to transform our homes into centers of happiness wall to wall. He will give us a new look at marriage, and he will supply us with the spiritual resources so necessary to family success. He will help us form a close-knit partnership in which love will be abundantly expressed. He will help us to admit our mistakes and to forgive the mistakes of our loved ones.
Do you want a home like that, a home where love is the rule rather than the exception, a home in which you find it easy to love because you are loved? If so will you give your heart to Jesus Christ right now and pray this prayer with me?
Dear Father, help me to more fully understand how you can make my home a happier place for everyone. Please work in my life to make me the kind of person who loves, who helps, and who shares. Thank you for the power and love that Jesus is ready to give to me. Amen.
Happy the home when God is there,
And love fills every breast;
When one their wish, and one their prayer,
And one their heavenly rest.
Happy the home where Jesus' name
Is sweet to every ear;
Where children early lisp his fame,
And parents hold him dear.
Happy the home where prayer is heard,
And praise is wont to rise;
Where parents love the Sacred Word
And all its wisdom prize.
Lord, let us in our homes agree
This blessed peace to gain;
Unite our hearts in love to Thee,
And love to all will reign.
Henry Ware, the Younger