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what does God have to say to families?

June 9, 2008

Over the last few months, my family has really been on my heart. My husband and children preoccupy my thoughts and time every day, but lately family issues have really been tugging at my spiritual heartstrings. When I think about what the Bible has to say to families, only a few verses come to mind. Typically I would think of the handful of verses in Ephesians and Colossians where Paul gives just a sentence or two of instruction to each member of the household. I knew there had to be more than that in there, so a few weeks ago I began a study on what exactly God intends for families. I was astounded when in the end of it all I had six pages of notes on what I had read.

The first truth I encountered is that God intends for families to be the vehicle by which His Word gets passed from one generation to the next. It is our job as parents to make sure our children understand who God is and what we are here for. Two verses in particular give a clear picture of the purpose of a family:

He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. Psalm 78:5-7

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Somewhere along the way, Christians ceased to be obedient to God in this area. I have to admit my family spends relatively little time together discussing God’s plan for us. And when I think back about my childhood family, I don’t think our faith was discussed much at all. The chain has been broken, and the result is a world full of “Christians” who are clueless about why they are here and what it really means to live a life devoted to God. If we are going to make a difference in this world, the change must begin in our families.

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