Strengthening the Family

A biblical portrait of what a Christian family looks like

Strengthening the Family

This next passage in Colossians 3 talks about how this life that Christ has given us is expressed in the marriage, in the home and how it can impact the next generation.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged (Colossians 3:18-21).

We observe 3 things in this passage:

  • Revealing Christ in the marriage

  • Revealing Christ in the family

  • Our impact on the next generation

Revealing Christ in the marriage:

Christ showed us the greatest example of serving or submission by willingly subordinating himself to the will of the Father (Hebrews 10:7). He also showed us the greatest example of headship as He modeled a life set apart for God and exhibited sacrificial love through serving.

Marriage was designed to create a framework for lifelong exclusive, mutual devotion love between a man and a woman. The biblical model calls for men and women, who are equal before God, to submit to their God-given roles in the marriage for the benefit of the other.

A woman is to submit to the husband as is fitting in the Lord - She is to pray for him, love him, to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership. She is to help him according to her gifts and trust that God will faithfully give her husband what he needs to lead the home.

A husband is to love his wife and not be harsh with her. How can he express love to her? Eph 5:25 Husbands are to lavish on their wives the same kind of love Christ lavishes on his bride, the church.

He needs to be connected to Christ, a source of life outside of himself.  Secondly, husbands are to take primary responsibility for Christlike servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home. 

marriage is like a garden…

Many marriage counselors compare marriage to a garden. It takes a tremendous amount time, work, care, and patience to tend no matter what the weather or season.

You also need to be aware of the threats to your garden and must protect it.  Only when you are committed to working on the garden together will your love grow deeper and will you reap the fruit of that investment over time.

A contract-based relationship refers to an agreement that when someone breaches a promise, the other party may engage in and look for a better opportunity.  A contract also implies the need to pay attention to what is owed between contracting parties.

In contrast:

Marriage is a covenant relationship in which both parties make an exclusive lifelong commitment and serve each other sacrificially.

Covenants are established by making an oath—an oath that creates kinship between the two who are making the covenant.

Marriage is designed to provide: partnership, spiritual intimacy and the ability to pursue God — together. It is designed to be a place where Christ’s love is expressed in a marriage through compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness that He has shown us.

But we who are self-centered and self-seeking by nature cannot do it without an attitude of humility and deep dependence on Christ. It is the only way we will have the power to keep loving, investing, or serving.

 

Revealing Christ in the family:

No one loves his children more than God does. And no one is more attentive to discipline us for our good. Every Christian parent should consider seriously that when your children are under your care, you are God’s representatives to prepare them for a relationship with their heavenly Father.

The book of Proverbs teaches that those who listen to their parents gain wisdom: “A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction” (Prov 13:1). God’s design is for children to learn to honor and obey their parents as they grow up so that they can live wisely. As they learn discipline and respect at home, they will learn appropriate respect towards others.

Our Impact on the Next Generation:

The apostle Paul knew that raising children requires a ton of wisdom and so Paul exhorts the parent:

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged (Colossians 3:21).

We should never underestimate the impact we have on people around us and especially those closest to us. For this reason, husbands and wives need to be committed putting the time, work, care, and effort necessary to take care of the marriage - no matter what the circumstances or season you are in.

This is why parents should model a life surrendered to God and raise their kids in Christ, not just in the church.

This takes modeling Christ’s love and life to each other by giving grace and mercy and extending God’s forgiveness to each other every day.

Because we have a perfect Savior who has accepted us, faults and all, we can accept others, faults and all, being free to love, encourage, pray, and enjoy life while we grow with each other. This is a biblical portrait of what a Christian family looks like.

As we strengthen the family, we will strengthen the local assembly and strengthen the community. There are no perfect marriages, no perfect homes, no perfect families.

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