A Type of God’s Family

Setting an Example for Our Children

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Do you recall the first time you held your son or daughter? Pause for a moment and think back as you held your child, this newborn baby in your arms, looking him or her over from head to toe. Can you recall what you were thinking? Maybe about all the hopes and dreams you had for this little child as well as all the opportunities that lay ahead. Who will he become? What will she be like? Who will he marry? Where will she live? Where will life take him?

God wants each and every person, at their appointed times, to accept His offer of salvation and become one with Him by entering His very family.

The first family

Now imagine back to when God first became a parent and what He might have been thinking when He formed Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him. He then proceeded to create his wife, Eve, to be his helper and intended for them to become one flesh. He provided the Garden of Eden as a safe environment. It was paradise! God walked and talked with them in the cool of the evening (Genesis 3:8) . He wanted them to choose life and to multiply and become part of His family.

The godly family started right there at creation when the first two humans were made in the image of God. From the very beginning, the purpose God had in creating humans was to expand His family (Hebrews 2:10) . As a loving Father, He desires a relationship with all humans and so provides direction and instruction. God wants each and every person, at their appointed times, to accept His offer of salvation and become one with Him by entering His very family (1 Corinthians 15:22-23) .

Preparing our children

As parents we want the best for our children. God, the perfect Father, set the model for us to follow. He gave us His Word, the Holy Bible, so that we might know how to live. Part of that instruction on how to live includes guidance on developing a godly family.

Our goal should be to create the environment of a Christian family and to teach our children to walk in the path of the Lord while they are young.

God established characteristics that a Christian family—a family led by a parent or parents with God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them—should exhibit. Our goal should be to create the environment of a Christian family and to teach our children to walk in the path of the Lord while they are young.

Just as each of God’s potential children must make a decision about accepting His calling, our children will have to make their own decisions. In the meantime, it is our job as parents to prepare our children to the best of our ability, with hope that they will embrace that calling.

Just as God and Christ are one, the husband and wife are to be one flesh.

The family hierarchy

What is a Scripture-based family? It is one that understands the God-given roles of a man and a woman as outlined in Scripture. God gives us a family hierarchy that is to be the standard for a Christian household (Ephesians 5:23-33; 6:1-3) . This may not be a popular concept, but it is biblical.

This model was created by God and is the ideal model of love and unity for us to follow. Just as God and Christ are one (John 10:30) , the husband and wife are to be one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31) , striving to become one with God and Christ (John 17:21) and each other. A child brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord in a family unified by God’s Spirit has a wonderful advantage. The ideal is that the family operates as a single unit in devotion and subjection to God the Father. Acknowledgment of the Father’s authority and commitment and dedication to following His Word as outlined in Scripture is key to achieving a Christian family.

God gives a special blessing to the children of a believer, calling them “holy” due to the obedience and dedication of the converted parent.

When your family looks different

Unfortunately Satan, the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) , is out to destroy the family structure and has polluted, perverted and twisted God’s model of the family. Some in the Church today are faced with raising children spiritually alone as a result of living with an unbelieving spouse or physically alone because of divorce, abandonment or other tragic circumstances. Raising children as a single parent— physically or spiritually—creates additional challenges. But remember that even in less-than-ideal circumstances, God gives a special blessing to the children of a believer, calling them “holy” due to the obedience and dedication of the converted parent (1 Corinthians 7:14) .

It is clear that Timothy’s mother and grandmother set an example that he was inspired to imitate.

Regardless of our current circumstances, we strive to spiritually guide and lead our families. Paul told Timothy to continue in the things that he had learned, reminding Timothy that he had known the Scriptures from childhood (2 Timothy 3:14-15) . Because his father was apparently a nonbeliever, we can surmise that Timothy learned Scripture from his grandmother (Lois) and his mother (Eunice) who led him to genuine faith (2 Timothy 1:5) . It is clear that Timothy’s mother and grandmother set an example that he was inspired to imitate.

At baptism we make a commitment to walk with God and be dedicated in following God’s Word. Continually renewing our mind with God’s Spirit allows us to be transformed and to follow God’s will, consequently setting an example for our spouse and children (Romans 12:2) .

It is important for our family to see that we love God by how we spend our time, how we speak, and how we interact with others.

Learn it, live it, teach it

Deuteronomy 6:5-6 encapsulates the attitude and diligence that God wants us to have in properly instructing our children in the path of righteousness. We must love God with all of our heart, our soul and our might (verse 5) . This means that we strive to internalize His Word (verse 6) . Our focus is to model His character on earth by allowing Jesus Christ to live in us (Galations 2:20) .

Children learn by example and instruction. While they hear what we say, the classic adage holds true: our daily actions speak louder than words. It is important for our family to see that we love God by how we spend our time, how we speak, and how we interact with others.

We are to be teaching our children God’s ways ... most importantly in the everyday routine of life.

Deuteronomy 6:7-9 instructs us to teach the words of the Lord “diligently” to our children. The word diligently has the connotation of sharpening through continual honing. This brings to mind the sharpening of a knife by using a whetstone, continuously drawing the blade across the stone until it becomes sharp.

We are to be teaching our children God’s ways, not just in formalized settings such as church services, Sabbath school or even regular family Bible studies, but also and most importantly in the everyday routine of life. Talking about God, His way and how to apply it should be common in our family setting.

Our focus as parents should be on learning God’s way, living God’s way and teaching God’s way. Our hope and prayer is that this Manual will help parents learn it, live it, teach it.

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