Saturday, 6 September 2014

Spiritual Development in the Family

     No two families are exactly alike, and because of the imperfect world in which we live, God’s ideal for the home is not a personal reality for everyone. But irrespective of our particular household dynamics, how can we ensure that spirituality is being developed in our homes?
     I. Provide what is really important. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8 NKJV). Beyond the essentials of physical life (food, shelter, clothing), is there anything else the Lord expects us to provide for the members of our household? What about security, affection, quality time, undivided attention, and love? Do our children live in an environment where they can develop a healthy self-esteem (cf. Genesis 1:26-27; Mark 12:31), learning the significance of inner beauty (1 Peter 3:3-4)? Of even greater consequence, we must accept the responsibility of ensuring that our family is consistently exhorted to “walk worthy of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
     II. Create an atmosphere of faith. From Deuteronomy 6:4-7 we learn three basic family guidelines. (1) Parents must exemplify faith (vv. 5-6). Our children watch, listen to, and imitate what we do and say. They pick up on our inconsistencies as well as our virtues. Whether our focus is on earthly or heavenly things (Colossians 3:2), our children will likely follow suit. (2) The way of the Lord must be taught in the home (v. 7a). As important as church assemblies and Bible classes are, the home is the central spiritual learning environment. Our children will learn their value system from somewhere, whether from the secular media, from misdirected peers, or from Christian parents. (3) We must make God and His will part of our daily conversation (v. 7b). It is never too early to begin talking to our children about our divine origin, righteousness, the Lord’s church, soul-winning, being a faithful Christian, marrying a faithful Christian, and preparing for eternity.
     Discipline is consistently practiced in a godly home (Ephesians 6:4) and must always be understood and administered in the context of love (Hebrews 12:3-11). Discipline, as God designed, is not merely corporal punishment but is appropriate action that encourages children to listen to and obey helpful instruction (Proverbs 13:24; 22:15; 23:12-16; 29:15, 17).
     III. Prepare for a family reunion in eternity. If one spouse ends up in heaven without the other, or if parents are there without their children or vice versa, what a tragedy! One’s own salvation should never be his/her only concern (cf. Hebrews 11:7). Granted, when our children leave home and are no longer under our authority and influence, they make their own choices and are solely accountable. But the general “train up a child” principle of Proverbs 22:6 ought to compel Christian parents to make sure that God is always first in the home. Families committed to the Lord will forever be together. 
     Developing spirituality in the family is no simple task in today’s worldly environment, but with God’s help and the right focus, let us be committed to this eternally significant endeavor.
--Kevin L. Moore

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