Text: Ephesians 5:21-33, Ephesians 6:1-9. 1 Timothy 5:8.
A family is defined as a group of people related by blood, marriage, law, by adoption or custom. A family is the essential building block of human society. Family is central in God's plan for mankind. God created family for the benefit of man and man has been given stewardship over it. The first family created by God was Adam and Eve.
A Christian family is a product of a Christian marriage and such a family is Christ centered. The love of Christ is binding all the members together. A man and a woman would form a union through marriage; they with their children become a family. Biblical family is comprised of one man, one woman, their offspring or adopted children. Extended family can include relatives such as parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunties and uncles.
A Christian family is one that lives by biblical principles and is one in which each member understands and fulfils his or her God given role. Every member has roles to play. Since a family starts with husband and wife with the love of Christ binding them together, they are responsible for holding the family together. For harmony and peaceful coexistence every member must be committed to Christ and His service and every one must be prepared to fulfil God appointed roles.
We have physical family and the spiritual family/family of God. The physical family is the most important building block to human society; it should be nurtured and protected. The spiritual family is made of all people who call upon the Lord Jesus Christ as saviour. Usually they are church members, fellowship members and the binding force is Christ and his love. God has so much interest in families and He expects family members to look after and care for one another. When God saved Noah, it was with his family members. Gen 6:18, "But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee." When God called Abraham out of Haran to move to a land God promised to show him, Abraham did not move alone but with his wife Sarah and his cousin Lot. Gen 12:4-5. The mother of Peter's wife was in Peter's house when Jesus came to heal her of fever. Matt 8:14. Therefore it is not out of place to find cousins, parents or in- laws living together under the same roof as a family. To live in peace and be in harmony is to put God first in everything and allow Christ love to be binding. To avoid conflict, everyone must be alert to his or her roles and play them well. It is necessary to highlight some of the roles of an individual in the family.
Roles of members in the family.
Jesus Christ is the Spiritual head of the Christian family. He must be honoured and revered.
Husband/Father is the physical head and the pastor in the house. He is in charge of the family altar and it must be functioning; must provide for the need of the family; love his wife as Jesus loves the Church; treat the wife as he will treat his own body and learn to appreciate her; appreciate the fact that a wife is a helpmate and not a slave; bring everybody up in the way of the Lord; give the children good education; give them sound moral upbringing and bring them up in the fear of the Lord. Discipline of the children should not be neglected and they should be celebrated when there is need for it. Protect the children and make sure they are not abused by any party. Treat everybody with care and love. Pay the wages of maids and house-helps on time. If your parents are living with you, honour and obey them. If they are not yet in Christ win them to the Lord's side with humility and respect. Have priority, after God comes your spouse, follow by the children and others. He coordinates the activities in the family for smooth running.
Wife/Mother is a helpmate to the husband. She needs to be submissive and obedient to him; to boost the morale of the children; manages the finances and supervises the children; take care of the family food; should not be idle and should be a godly woman; make sure everybody under the roof is treated with love and equity; make the environment clean and the home conducive for all to live in. Her family must be a priority. Godly children are expected from her; must be accessible to her children; must be a role model, God fearing and seek godly counsel. Be a praying mother and be given to hospitality.
Children are to obey their parents and to honour them; run errands at home; be Christ
ambassadors and good representatives of the family. Respect people around and be humble. Participate in church activities; be diligent in their work and be focused. Avoid bad companies and must not allow sinners to entice them.
Other relations in the house should follow the rules and regulations as laid down by the head of the family. Respect yourself and be an asset. Avoid being abused and comport yourself in an orderly manner. Be humble and make sure you attain spiritual maturity.
Grandparents should be good role models by all standards; be prayer intercessors; spend time wisely and be involved in kingdom activities. Never cause disharmony among family members. Do not pamper the grandchildren. Demonstrate Christ’s love; be fair to all and let heaven be your focus.
Househelp/steward should be obedient to the master and avoid eye service. Be diligent, honest and trustworthy. Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord. Be of good character. Show love to everyone and avoid being abused. Be in Christ and look unto Jesus for a better tomorrow.
Brethren, in the family you are likely to fall into one of the groups above. Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord. Strive to play your own role and assist others when there is need for such so that all can work for the good of everybody. Work as a team for the success of the family. For smooth running of a family, love, faithfulness, understanding, transparency and trust will be required in addition to the individuals playing their roles. There must not be communication gap; issues and disagreement must be resolved amicably. Each member must learn to forgive readily. The success of a family is centered on the husband and the wife and these two must be compatible; work towards the same goal and run with the same vision. Financial challenges must be resolved with love, openness and sincerity. There must be intimacy between the two, encourage one another, appreciate each other, readily forgive each other and have a common goal.
Above all, God must be at the centre of your family with the love of Christ binding every member together and always lift up your family in prayer. The family unit is the foundation of human society and is like a building block. To be a Christian family, it has to be solid, well nurtured, protected, firmly built on Christ and be deeply rooted in Him and held together by the love of Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for creating family for the benefit of mankind.
Father, grant me the grace to have a successful Christian family and to uphold a successful family life.
Grant all the members of my family the grace to live by biblical principles and to love one another as Christ loved us. Make my family a good role model of a Christian family as I seek after a good name.
In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.