Today, the greatest display of God’s love and nature can be seen in a happy and healthy family. Since the devil knows this as well, he tries to destroy the family and bring death instead of life, and he tries to bring hurt and pain instead of joy and healing.
Presently, in America, over 40% of first time marriages end in divorce (60% for second time and 73% for third time). Many of the divorces involve adultery and sexual sin. Roughly 1 out 10 marriages are currently suffering from infidelity; and, those over 60 and less than 35 years of age are, on average, committing more adultery than ever before. Older couples (around 30%) are less satisfied with their marriage and are more willing to be unfaithful than prior generations; and, those in their first years of marriage (around 20%) make little or no effort to fight adulterous temptations.
Oftentimes these marriages end in power struggles, selfishness, and deep emotional hurt for both persons involved. Sadly, the children are the ones who are hurt the most. They needlessly suffer as they watch their mom and dad destroy the family they built together and try to start two new lives where there used to be only one.
For this reason God said in Malachi 2:16, “’The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect’ says the Lord Almighty.” In other words, God hates divorce because it does harm to all the people involved.
Throughout the years of my ministry I have yet to see a divorce that did not emotionally crush the couple involved and harm the children in some way. Though each divorce has its unique arrangements, most of the time the mother is awarded primary custody of the children and the father has only a limited role in the children’s everyday lives.
Studies now show the damaging results a fatherless home has on children. Girls, who grow up without a father in the house are more likely to get pregnant before marriage, struggle with low self-worth, and have more financial troubles in life. Similarly, boys who grow up without a father are more likely to get a girl pregnant before marriage and are 9x more likely to get arrested and do jail time. Both genders will have a much harder time getting good grades in school and will struggle having healthy relationships and marriages with the opposite sex.
The answer to this crisis in the family must come from the Bible, God’s instructions for a blessed life. However, many Americans have turned away from the Bible and have, instead, replaced biblical foundations with sin, wickedness, and whatever seems right in their own eyes (Excerpt from, “Disciples that Make Disciples,” Joe Wyrostek).
Therefore, we need to restored biblically the image of God in our families!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES are the commands and practices a disciple “show” in their life to “grow” spiritually. The growing disciple will be transformed in their behavior by being renewed in their mind (Romans 12:2) for the purpose of reflecting the image of God.
THINK ABOUT THIS… “Spiritual Growth” is between “New Birth” and “Renewal & Transformation” because without it the new believer cannot daily reflect Christ’s image. “Spiritual Disciplines/Showing” is between “Knowing” and “Growing” because without them we cannot develop godly attributes.
Ephesians 5:21, “21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
FOUR MAJOR SINS DESTROYING MARRIAGE
- Same-Sex Marriage
- Sexual Perversion (Adultery & Pornography)
- No Fault Divorce (Outside of, “Abuse, Adultery, & Abandonment”)
Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
BIBLICAL ROLE OF HUSBANDS
Husbands are to love their wives as Jesus loves the church. As the husband you may be over your wife in your role, but you are to make her the center of your world and work together with her as a team. After God, your wife should be the most important person in the universe. As the head, you are to be there to make the final decisions but, in doing so, you are to always remember her needs and desires.
The most important thing you can give your wife is your love and attention. You must be able to fluently speak her love language. You should know if she responds best to a special touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, or acts of service. A good husband knows when to love his wife. Plus, he also knows how to love her and fill her love tank everyday.
Second, you must also make your wife feel secure and at peace in your relationship. She must know that you will always be there for her. Whether you just listen to her hard day at work or give her a romantic night on the town, she must be able to trust you and know that you will never cheat or give your love to another woman. This means you will not spend time alone with another woman or look at other women and lust after them. You must only have an emotional relationship with her. No other woman can have that part of your life or heart. Your feelings and heart must belong to her 100%, forever.
Here are some verses from Paul in Ephesians 5:25-33, along with some practical advice, on being a good godly husband. Prayerfully read each section and let faith come as you confess and believe each verse is for you, today.
- Love your wife as Christ does the church.
- v. 25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”
- The Greek word “agape” is used for the word love. Agape means, “unconditional love.” The first thing you are to do is have unconditional love for your wife. You are to have the same kind of love for her that Jesus has for the church. The best definition for love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13. Please read Paul’s description of love and ask for grace to always love your wife in that way.
- Give yourself up for your wife.
- v. 25, “…and gave himself up for her”
- Next, we see that Jesus “gave Himself” for the church. This means Jesus was “selfless” and not “selfish.” He laid His life down for the church. You are to love your wife so much that you are willing to lay your life down for her every day. You must desire her wants and needs even above your own.
- Support and take care of your wife.
- vs. 26-30, “26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—30 for we are members of his body.”
- Here, Paul states that Jesus makes the church a radiant, beautiful, and holy bride. He does this because He loves the church. In the same way, you must put action to your love for your wife. Your love for her should help her be all that God has made her to be. You must make her dreams your dreams, and do all that you can to help and assist her so that she can fulfill her God-given purpose. Paul said that a wife will be a reflection of her husband, just like his own body. So, as you take care of your own body, you should take care of your wife. Her smile and the look on her face should be an indication, to everyone she meets, that she is the pride and joy of her husband. Everyone should be able to tell that she has been lavished with your love because her countenance shines wherever she goes.
- Be united with your wife in everything.
- vs. 31-33, “’31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
- Next, we learn that the church and Jesus are one. Likewise, you and your wife should be one. You must make her a part of your life and let her share in all your decisions and plans. Together, you should encourage and strengthen each other. The day you both said, “I do,” you became a life-long team. You may be the head of the team, but if you lose your wife you will be the only one on the team. Prayerfully lead your wife and guide her in the plans God has for your family. Together you will do great and awesome things for God!
THE BIBLICAL ROLE OF WIVES
Wives are the backbone of every great marriage. The saying is true, “Behind every strong man, there is an even stronger woman.” As the wife, you will either make or break your marriage. For the man to be successful as the head, he needs you to be his number one supporter.
I know, today, that the world may lead you to believe that being a “meek woman” is the same as being a “weak woman” but the exact opposite is true. The Bible teaches that the greatest among us would be the least. Jesus said the servant of all would be the best leader of all (Mark 10:44).
The greatest example of submission is found in Jesus. He was 100% equal with the Father in all ways, yet He humbled Himself and became a man and served His Father in every way that pleased Him. Everything Jesus did on earth was to please His Father and make His Father’s name great. Jesus’ number one goal in life wasn’t to do great miracles, to help people, or even to be the Savior of the world. His first and greatest assignment was to make His Father’s name great on the earth and to bring Him glory (John 17:4).
As a result, Jesus did many awesome miracles, changed people’s lives, and became the Savior of the world. Since Jesus pleased the Father, He was given a name that is above every name, so that “…at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and confess Him Lord” (Philippians 2:10). Always remember that Jesus’ chief desire, which informed all that He did, was to please His Father.
Other women may try to tell you not to let a 2,000-year- old book with outdated rules tell you what to do, but remember you’re not just following rules written in an ancient book. You’re following a living person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Prayerfully read Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:22-24 with the brief advice provided below and let these verses inspire and encourage you to be a wife who pleases God in every way.
- Submit to your husbands as the church submits to Christ.
- v. 22, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”
- The Greek word here for “submit” means “to be under someone’s authority.” This term was used for soldiers about how they were to obey their commanding officers in the Roman army. Paul states that you are to be under your husband’s authority just as you are under the Lord’s commands. This may not sound good to your flesh, but it is the right thing for your spirit and for peace in your home. You cannot build a happy home with two equal authorities. One has to give in to the other. God’s plan for peace and harmony in the home is for the woman to freely and humbly give up her rights and let the husband have the final word. This, of course, does not allow your husband to be either physically or verbally abusive, nor does it allow him to neglect your needs or treat you like a child. The passage is simply teaching you that, when it comes to the final authority of the house, your husband is in charge.
- Submit to your husbands in everything you do.
- vs. 23-24, “23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
- Once again, Paul writes that you are to submit to your husbands in everything. Everything means everything. From how you cut your hair, to what clothes you wear, to how you decorate your home, you must allow your husband to have the final say in everything. At the same time, as my wife and many other godly women will tell you, they are very happy because the authority is not there to harm them, but to protect them and the family from confusion and contention that can lead to divorce. Notice how God gave four commands to the husband in this passage from Paul (love, give, support, and unite), but gave just one to the wife, submission. This is not strange, because if the husband follows Jesus in all he does, the wife will be blessed in following her husband as the leader in the home.
THE BIBLICAL ROLE OF FATHERS
Fathers are given the most crucial role in the family because their responsibilities and accountability to God are the greatest. When God chose a title for Himself, He did not choose “mother,” “son,” or “daughter.” He chose “Father.”
Even though Jesus is the “Son” in regards to the Trinity, He is called the “Everlasting Father” in regards to all creation (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus, God the Son, is called the “Everlasting Father” because He makes spiritual sons and daughters and all mankind is made in His image. Since God chose the term “Father” to be the most dominant way of expressing His nature, you must live and act like Him when you are called by that name. The term, “Father,” carries with it the likeness of God, the Father, in both character and lifestyle.
The first father your children will ever see is you. So, before you ever tell them about God, the Father, you ought to have lived a life in front of them worthy of that title. Your life, as a father, will either be a good example of God, the Father, or a bad one. Plus, your life will model the kind of man your sons should grow up to be and the kind of men your daughters should marry.
You might be thinking to yourself, “But I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. How can I be like God?” Listen carefully. No excuse is valid in God’s eyes. Jesus, Himself, said in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I know that a man may sin, but a true father does not live in sin. He does not continue in sin, nor live a half-hearted life for God (1 John 3:9).
As the head of the house, what sins you tolerate will dominate your family. You must decide that there will be no sinful habits passed down to your children. Therefore, rid yourself of all pornography, physical abuse, outbursts of anger, drugs, cigarettes, false religion, unhealthy eating habits, perverse music, phobias, laziness, drunkenness, and cursing. You are both the “priest” and the “police” of your home. You set the spiritual climate in the house and decide what belongs and what doesn’t (Ephesians 4:30-32).
In the Bible, it is common to see children falling into the same sinful patterns as their fathers. Even contemporary psychologists teach that if a child grows up in a home where there is spousal abuse, the child is very likely to be in an abusive relationship. If a child lives in a home where there are drugs, alcohol abuse, smoking, profanity, pornography, and witchcraft, the children will have a greater chance of participating in the same destructive behavior.
You must learn to display God-likeness in front of your children. If you fall, you must show them grace and teach them that your Father in heaven forgives sin and gives power to overcome sin. King Solomon said in Proverbs 24:16, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” Therefore, you must show them, by God’s power, you can live a life that exemplifies God in all that you do.
Twelve Attributes of a Good Father:
- Love God and keep all His commands.
- Love your wife and always meet her needs.
- Love your children and raise them in the ways of God.
- Be dedicated to your job for your family’s provision.
- Have kindness, patience, and compassion in directing your family .
- Keep the order and peace in your home as designed by God.
- Lead, by example, in the church and help serve in the ministry .
- Have respect and love for others.
- Be generous and kind to those in need.
- Show grace and forgiveness to people in their time of weakness.
- Enjoy life. Stay full of faith through life’s ups and downs.
- Do all things as unto God!
THE BIBLICAL ROLE OF MOTHERS
As a mother, after God’s love, you will have the greatest love the world has ever known. There is no greater love found on earth than the love a mother has for her children. When I was in juvenile jail with other teen criminals, I would notice who would come and visit. It would always be the mother. The child might have been a drug dealer, thief, or a gang member, but he was still his mother’s child.
Why? Because the mother carries the child for nine months in her womb, and during that time she develops a strong bond with him that lasts forever. Though God chooses the example of a Father to be His primary example of power and authority, He also uses the role of the mother for the example of His love and nurturing.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:37, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” I believe that only mothers can truly understand the depths of God’s love for His creation.
Though, as a mother you are still under the authority of your husband, you still have just as important a role in the upbringing of your children. You should be an example to your sons of the woman they will want to one day marry. And, to your daughters, you should be an example of the type of woman they want to grow up and become.
The Bible gives a very honorable place to your role as a mother, so do not let anyone look down on you for placing your children’s needs even above your career or social status. Being a good mother is the greatest job a woman could ever have and, today, it is the most needed job in America! Your children need to see your love and Christ-like example every day. Be encouraged by the example written about in Proverbs 31. And remember it is by God’s grace that you can be all that He has called you to be!
Twenty-Two Attributes of a Proverbs 31 Woman
- VALUABLE: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies,” v. 10.
- TRUSTWORTHY: “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value,” v. 11.
- HARDWORKING: “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life,” v. 12.
- SELECTIVE: “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands,” v. 13.
- SHREWD: “She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar,” v. 14.
- PROVIDER: “She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants,” v. 15.
- SAVVY: “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard,” v. 16.
- STRONG: “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks,” v. 17.
- DILIGENT: “She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night,” v. 18.
- MULTI-TASKER: “In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers,” v. 19.
- COMPASSIONATE: “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy,” v. 20.
- CONFIDENT: “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet,” v. 21.
- BEAUTIFUL: “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple,” v. 22.
- RESPECTED HUSBAND: “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land,” v. 23.
- PROSPEROUS: “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes,” v. 24.
- DIGNIFIED: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come,” v. 25.
- WISE: “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue,” v. 26.
- INVOLVED: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness,” v. 27.
- BLESSED FAMILY: “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her,” v. 28.
- OVERACHIEVER: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all,” v. 29.
- GOD-FEARING: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” v. 30.
- HONORED: “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate,” v. 31.
THE BIBLICAL ROLE OF CHILDREN
The biblical role for children is simple, “Obey your parents!” Paul wrote the following words in Ephesians 6:1-3, “1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—3 so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
As long as a child lives at home with his or her parents, he or she is expected to follow all the rules set up in their parent’s house. The only times a child shouldn’t obey their parents, or guardians, is when they, (a) Ask them to break God’s commands or (b) Physically, sexually, or mentally abuse them. Other than those times the child should always honor and respect their parents even if they do not serve God.
Once the child has reached adulthood, he or she can “leave and cleave” to their spouse and start their own family with the rules and guidelines that God personally gives them from His Word (Genesis 2:24). If they live on their own, as a single adult, they must be responsible to God as an individual until they marry. Though the adult child should always honor and respect their parents for the rest of their lives, all major decisions and final authority for their life and family will rest on their own relationship with God.
Ten Ways for Children to Honor God and Their Parents
- Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- Love and honor your parents by doing the things they ask.
- Do well in school and stay out of trouble.
- Be committed to the church and helping others.
- Obey all of God’s commands and teach them to others.
- Choose good friends and hobbies.
- Don’t have sex until marriage.
- Follow God’s plans for your life and future family.
- Patiently wait for God to bring your spouse.
- Never give up or get tired of serving Jesus.
- SINGLE WITHOUT KIDS: General Advice: Love God, be the right kind of person that the opposite sex would want to marry. Live holy, be patient, and serve the Lord while waiting for your spouse (obey your parents, grow in wisdom, work hard, etc.). Avoid: Feeling sorry for yourself, living in sin, and wasting your time.
- SINGLE WITH KIDS: General Advice: Love God, put your kids above anyone else, raise your children in church while you serve. Be the right kind of person that the opposite sex would want to marry. Live holy, be patient, and serve the Lord while waiting for your spouse. Avoid: Being overwhelmed, depressed, or bitter.
- MARRIED WITHOUT KIDS: General Advice: Love God, enjoy the time you have together, plan your family on God’s schedule, and use your extra time and income for savings and Kingdom investments. Avoid: Planning a family your way, being selfish, and fighting over small things.
- MARRIED WITH KIDS: General Advice: Love God, continue to build a strong marriage, raise your children in church while you serve, be shrewd in how you spend money, and plan wisely for the future. Avoid: The worries of life, being too busy, letting your marriage suffer and losing Christian influence with your kids.
TWO THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Daily invite God to build a family with you, Psalm 127:1.
- Always put God and His commands first, Mark 9:42-43.
God made families to reflect His glory so don’t settle for anything less than God’s best in your home!