Today’s parents are more likely to put the responsibilities for raising children and their marriage above their career and financial success than their parent’s generation. You too may be seeking answers to the concerns and healthy fears about raising a family in today’s world. News stories almost daily confirm the dangers that threaten our families.
Technology, with cell phones and the internet, has made our homes more vulnerable to outside influences than ever before. Who is communicating with your children? What are they listening to? What values are they picking up? Today’s families want a hedge against the negative influences in the world. More and more demands are being placed on your precious family time.
The personal calendars of parents overflow with meetings, lessons, games, practices, rehearsals, and recitals. The busyness of life has taken its toll, and families are being stretched too thin. You want balance. A recent study of the top ten issues facing today’s families shared that busyness, financial pressures, negative media influences, balance of work and family, and materialism are major concerns. But what do we make time for? What must go? What really makes a difference in our lives? Families are looking to set boundaries based on true values that will nurture and preserve family health.
We all want the best for our families. So does God. He is the Father “from whom every family in heaven and earth is named.” (Ephesians 3:14-15) He’s been in the marriage and family business from the very beginning. Long ago, He promised an offspring who would bless “all the families of the earth” (Genesis 28:14) to a couple who had broken the boundaries of marriage and family. Not only that, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of women, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into hearts, crying “Abba! (Daddy) Father!” (Galatians 4:4-6). God is in the family restoration and recovery business.
God’s love for marriage and family is shown in His creation. From the very beginning, He made marriage and family the building blocks for human relationships. It was not good that man was “alone” so God made for him a “fit” companion (Genesis 2:18) so that “a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). God blessed this marriage to become a family that would be “fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and . . . have dominion” over creation (Genesis 2:28). So from the very beginning, God’s plan for humanity was marriage and children, establishing families, and growing communities of people with a special role over the rest of creation.
Maybe it will be of some consolation for you, as a parent today, that even with a perfect Father God, perfect marriage, and a perfect home, there is still rebellion. This is because of the negative influences that bring evil. It tempts us to doubt the boundaries given by our perfect Father. It opened the doors of our homes to corrupting and enslaving influences. It incites rebellion and now our homes are broken and vulnerable to being “carried about . . . by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14) and to becoming “darkened in [our] understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in [us]” (Ephesians 4:18).
Unfortunately, it’s the condition we all are in because “everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34). As a result, we see that our homes, families, and; marriages can suffer from broken relationships and malicious influences.
The good news is that God’s love does not know defeat. He sent His only Son “to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives.” (Isaiah 61:1).
And so it was that Jesus walked this earth showing his power to heal the sick and suffering, raise the dead, drive out demons, and forgive those in bondage to sin and brokenness. God’s very Son, Jesus, the Messianic King prophesied of old, stepped into human history in order to break the bonds of evil, death, and sin. But it wasn’t through earthly armies nor with human might and strength that He was victorious.
The love of God was manifested in the simple figure of Jesus who gave us his very life for us. In his death and resurrection, he began restoring God’s reign and a kingdom that brings life, restores relationships and marriages, and rebuilds families and communities. A kingdom of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17).
How does this kingdom life enter into your family life? Jesus taught, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God,” (Mark 10: 14), and “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). God’s Word and the Holy Spirit show us the poverty of our lives apart from Him.
But that same Word and Spirit show us Jesus and gives us the faith to trust, like children, in the love and grace of our perfect Father. This faith is planted and nurtured in God’s family, his Church, where together, we hear and are changed by the Gospel and Spirit. This faith opens our eyes to witness God’s kingdom at work around us and opens our hands to God’s blessings of a relationship with Him and one another; of building stronger marriages and families. This faith produces the hope of everlasting life in the fullness of God’s family in the Kingdom to come.
One day, all the evil influences that assault us and our families will be destroyed completely, and we will hear, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34).
To continue the conversation on the Kingdom of God’s entry into your marriage and family, please contact Living Water’s minister, Dave Gieseking, at 850-648-1151, email – [email protected], or visit our facility – 1602 Hwy 98, Mexico Beach, FL 32456.