The culture says, “Don’t worry about it, just let it happen,” or, “Family can be anyone or anything, even a group of regulars at a bar, college roomies, or two mommies and two daddies.”
None of this is true.
Yes, people can enjoy the bond of fellowship in a bar or on a regular bus route, but at its best this camaraderie is nothing more than friendship.
Family is something altogether different. It is not just another “group” you can belong to; it is God’s foundational institution, one which He began with the first human beings. His original architecture included ties not meant be severed, and its base was covenant instead of emotion. As the Bible is God’s communication of His ideals, even His personality, so we see repeatedly throughout His book that the structure and of family is His design and contains within it the essences of communion and government.
Families do more than exist for Tide commercials. They are the conduits of God’s grace to humanity, a microcosm of the workings of Heaven.
It was through a family, a mother, that Jesus came to us, not through any other association of individuals.
Of course, families can go sour. They can even become objects of idolatry, just as anything else in God’s creation (see Romans 1).
But they are still His idea, and when we choose to glorify Christ with our whole beings, our job as married women, especially those with children, becomes His work, His commission of holy labor for the Kingdom of God on the earth.
…admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
This is a lofty proposition. Homes are not filled with totally sanctified citizens of heaven, but unfinished masterpieces with abrasive rough edges. The parts often do not fit together to make a whole, and many have exhausted themselves and ended up with nothing but rubble (which may be one of the reasons people have decided to give up on the whole idea).
But then, God…
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it
Psalm 127: 1a
The word here, “house” means “family.” Solomon is reminding us here that family is not our work, but His.
Yes, we are weak, and foolish, and prone to sin ourselves, but He partners, He provides, He bolsters, He comforts, and He encourages.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Actually, our first step is to realize we are NOT equipped for the job.
Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Then we present our whole beings to be used however He wishes:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
This includes our time, our energy, our physical bodies, our friendships, our habits, and on and on. It is the way of the cross; that in giving we receive, in dying we live.
After this we begin adoring Him, delighting in Him.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Make Jehovah the joy and rejoicing of thy spirit. Bad men delight in carnal objects; do not envy them if they are allowed to take their fill in such vain idols; look thou to thy better delight, and fill thyself to the full with thy more sublime portion. In a certain sense imitate the wicked; they delight in their portion—take care to delight in yours, and so far from envying you will pity them. There is no room for fretting if we remember that God is ours, but there is every incentive to sacred enjoyment of the most elevated and ecstatic kind. Every name, attribute, word, or deed of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a profound relish for his dainties.
Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David
But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.
Just as when Israel went out to battle against their enemies, when we find ourselves battling the devil and his minions, we march out worshipping God in the “beauty of holiness.”
And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.”
2 Chronicles 20:21
Not our holiness, but the holiness of Jesus, God’s perfect lamb, Whose blood covers all of our short-comings and makes us blameless in His sight–hallelujah!
As we bask in the light of His perfect love and grace, our own lives are transformed, and we begin to reflect Him, and then His love, which heals and creates new things, flows through us.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
God wants us to have life and peace in our homes! He is for us, and His will is that our families be a place where the Holy Spirit feels comfortable, where the fruits of the Spirit are evident.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
This is how we fulfill our calling; by harnessing the power of the Holy Spirit through faith, relying on His promises.
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:3-4
We don’t have to rely on our own small brains to solve problems such as how to feed our families, or keep up on laundry, or soothe a teething baby, or encourage a teen with acne. The challenges of family life drive us into a constant dependence on Him, and we become artists at listening, so that we are not without help at the point of our need.
I know what you are hearing; that as a woman you can’t focus on your family, that you have to be multi-faceted, which actually means distracted and pulled in every direction at once.
But don’t fall for the lie. We are supposed to be fixed and focused, with our minds trained on one thing; the obedience of Christ. His life was focused on pleasing God, and that is what He calls us to do.
Whenever I feel challenged by the Sirens who want to pull this ship onto the rocky shoals, I remember the words Joshua spoke to the children of Israel:
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.