Is your family functioning, or is it dysfunctional? I presume that is an objective question, seeing that “normal” has multitudinous definitions in our morally relative society! There is, however, a culture defined in Scripture that teaches us what a family functioning for God looks like.
In the book of Ephesians Paul sets out to describe the blessed conditions of Heaven in the Christian home. Here, there are at least eight words that make a family function.
- FORGIVING- Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” The culture of Christianity is forgiveness, for you could not be one without having been forgiven. Every marriage would have quickly and painfully ended in divorce from day one had not forgiveness reigned in human hearts.
- REDEEMING- Ephesians 5:16 says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Families are to make the most of their time. Making the most of our time means we redeem time and spend it wisely as an investment in the eternal. Deuteronomy chapter six describes time redemption as teaching the truths of God’s Word at bedtime, morning time, and at other times when spiritual applications may be made.
- UNDERSTANDING- Ephesians 5:17 says, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Family life is all about the will of God. The family cannot function outside the will of God for them. How imperative it is for the father to ensure that he makes wise decisions concerning church membership, employment, residence and all other matters according to the will of God!
- FILLING- Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Is the filling of the Holy Spirit, meaning being Spirit-controlled, any more important in its presence than in the home? All of our words, actions, attitudes, and decisions are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
- SPEAKING- Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The Christian home ought to be permeated with soul-stirring and Christ-honoring music. I speak not of “church music,” for the right type of music in church is thoroughly Christian and fitted for the pew and the pillow.
- GIVING- Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Families cannot function spiritual or financially where discontent and greed of gain overflow the banks of contentment. The Bible says, “Be content with such things as ye have, for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). The opposite of discontentment is contentment with the person of God as our reward (Genesis 15:1).
- SUBMITTING- Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” There is mutual submission in the functioning family. In other words the family cannot and should not revolve around one personal alone. The family is not all about the children and their needs, nor is it all about the mother or the father. Although the wife is to submit to her husband in all things (5:22), the husband is still accountable to his wife and children in the use of his time, their money and his energy. He should not be a rogue, expecting from others what he himself is unwilling to reciprocate.
- LOVING- Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Creative love designed the family (Genesis 2), and Calvary love redeemed the family ruined by sin. Much is made of love (in a human respect), when more, I say MUCH MORE, ought to be made of Calvary love (John 3:16 love). May a spirit of sacrifice and giving be found in each member of my home!
These are but a few of the words that make families function biblically. Long live the family that functions!