My post yesterday made me think a lot about how to go about the process of talking about Christian Families. Where does one begin? What point is a sufficient foundation upon which to begin building a genuinely Christian worldview of family life?
Of course, my pragmatic brain kicked in not long after these questions and said to the rest of me:
“Begin at the beginning.”
So I did. Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
So there we have it: a beginning.
Now, I realize fully that Genesis 1:1 says nothing directly about family life but I think this is the best place to start for some really important reasons.
First, God is God alone. Whatever else we want to say about families, we must keep in mind this simple point. God is God and we are not. If you’re into music like me then take a few moments, as you read this post, to listen to this song by Steven Curtis Chapman called “God is God:”
(my comments carry on below the video)
In our families there is no room for atheistic approaches to life. God is God and all of our activities must take this into account. We are not determined by fate. We do not live alone. God is the source of life. “In Him we live and more and have our being” the Bible says.
Practically, our family life should reflect this awareness of God’s reality and Lordship. Do we ever pray to God as a family? Do we ever bring God into our conversations with our spouses and our children? Do we make decisions by consulting God?
I’ll give you an example from our family’s life. My wife is a qualified bookkeeper and runs her own business managing the books for several small companies. However, with three small children this work was becoming difficult to manage and we did not know what to do. Se we decided to fast and pray about this decision. Our children fasted with us. Rather than not eating at all (this would have been a hardship and perhaps not medically advisable for our kids) we chose to have a simple vegetarian and fruit diet for a week and to give up tea, coffee and juice and drink only water. The kids knew it and joined with us in this big change of diet. They also joined in our daily prayers at mealtimes for God to give us wisdom.
Our family’s life together should include God intentionally.
The second reason I think this is important is because God, being real and being the Creator, is also the Judge. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 says “Now all has been heard and here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” We must manage ourselves and direct our families in ways which are pleasing to God.
He is our Creator and so we are accountable to Him. We must live our own lives in ways which please our Creator. We must treat our spouses in ways which honor their Creator. We must raise our children in ways which honor their Father in heaven.
The third reason I think beginning with God as Creator is crucial for family life is because we are created in God’s image. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” The imago dei, or image of God, is in each one of us. Every member of our family bears this resemblance to God.
Much could be said about what the imago dei actually is and what it represents. Without delving at all into that mystery, I think we can say simply that being made in God’s image implies value. So we must treat our spouses as being valuable in and of themselves. They are not valuable merely because of their connection to us. They are valuable because they are bearers of God’s image. Likewise, our children are not valuable simply because they are ours. They are valuable – boys and girls – because they bear the image of God.
To summarize, I think the foundation for Christian Families is God the Creator. If we live with this belief in practice then God will be present in our family’s life. God’s laws, desires and plans will guide us because He will judge our faithfulness to them. God’s image, stamped on every member of our families, will give value to husbands, wives and children. These three things (and perhaps others) will bring balance and godliness into our relationships.
Please add your comments in reply to this question:
What could your family change in order to demonstrate these truths more fully?