Points covered: Three simple ways you can build a strong family.
Man is a social being and we always want to belong, want to relate to each other. One of the primary places for man’s sense of security is his family, a place where the husband, wife and children walk hand in hand. Don’t you think often times family is where there is a lot of conflict today?
God created family and yet there are no prefect families. In fact if you look at the scripture we find very quickly Adam and Eve had a very difficult time in their family. Not only was there a conflict between them but their sons were against each other. Later we find Abraham marries Sarah and their marriage is fine but then Hagar comes into the scene and they have a conflict. David was the supreme of all the kings of Israel. There was lying, murder, rape, and rebellion in his family. He was an awesome king but his family was a total disaster. So one may have a lot of money and success but it takes effort to have a strong family.
How is your family? Today I want to speak to you on three areas of strength for strong and happy families.
1. Upward relationship.
Strong families have members who have great relationship with God. You cannot build a strong home without God who is the author of family.
a. Strong families fear God.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Strong families have godly parents and children who are devoted to God.
Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.
Acts 10:1-2 1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2He and all his family were devout and God-fearing.
It is vital that if we are going to be strong families, that we be careful to respect the authority, majesty, and the sovereignty of the Almighty. That is to dedicate our lives in the presence of God. That is where it begins. It is impossible to be a wise family without this foundation in your life, that foundation is the fear of the Lord.
i. Pray together.
Matthew 18:19-20 19“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Acts 10:2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. The family that prays together stays together. Listen to your kids pray; you will know what is going on in their mind and life.
ii. Read the Bible together.
Deuteronomy 6:18-19 18Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.19Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Where is the Bible, the Word of God in your home? Have your children have seen you read it?
iii. Attend church together.
Joshua 24:15 But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
2 Chronicles 20:13 All Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
If you happen to be one of those parents who send your children somewhere for tuition or some extracurricular activities on a Sunday morning, understand by the time they finish their schooling they will have a lot of education and talent but nothing of God. They do not have the fear of God nor the Word of God. We need to attend church together.
iv. Confirm to God’s standards of purity.
Proverbs 2:20 So you may walk in the way of goodness, And keep to the paths of righteousness.
A family where both parents and children walk pure. Parental controls are a big deal and I am glad we have rating systems for movies and video games and so on. But the most important parental control would be you because we are called to protect our children’s purity. That means we set boundaries and rules, we decide where our kids go, how we behave on the computer, what kind of music we listen to, and how we dress whether it is appropriate, modest or immodest and so on. Now guess what parents? This is your responsibility.
The problem is many parents are compromised. We have reduced our standards and negotiated things down in our own lives spiritually, so to talk to our kids on the areas of purity is uncomfortable because we know we are compromised ourselves. If you want the best for your family, fear God.
2. Inward relationship.
Strong families have individuals with great bonding.
a. Great companionship.
Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Companionship is fellowship, friendship, togetherness, intimacy. Companionship builds by spending time with your loved ones. This is not the time sitting around the television. This is the time you spend around the table eating, talking, laughing, going out etc.
i. Love one another.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
What is the environment of your house? Is your home an environment where love reigns or is constant strife and anger? Love is something you do, not just something that you feel. Our kids know if we are loving, caring or rude. Parents loving one another builds security in a child’s life.
Somebody says, “I text them once in a while.” You know what that is so impersonal, there is no feeling in a text. You send, “I love them.” That is still a text. There is something about “Sweetheart I love you. Children you are so precious to me. You are just so fantastic.” There is a big difference in this than the text I LUV U. God wants us to have strong loving families. It takes work and does not come easily.
ii. Be a good listener.
We all wants to be listened to. Even if things don’t interest you, just give your ear. Refuse to listen to someone is to shut them out, telling them that they are not a priority, you are not important, so I am not going to listen. Be sure not to let that happen in the family.
iii. Spend time together.
Illustration: It is Sunday night 8 pm. Mom is sitting on the sofa, reading her Women’s Era. Dad is on his iPad playing with a newly downloaded app. One kid is in his bedroom texting with friends, and the other kid is watching TV—essentially alone. Does that sound like a weekend at your house? Many families are staying under the same roof by their hearts are apart.
Make some adjustment to be with your family. Plan fun things together. Build memories in their life where children can remember what you all did together. That togetherness will bond you throughout your life.
iv. Ask forgiveness when you are wrong.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Don’t leave anything unforgiven. Even 40 years from now people in family will still remember that you hurt them. You must tell them, “You are right, I am wrong, forgive me.” Just release our pride and reconcile.
v. Don’t criticize one another.
Philippians 2:3-4 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Criticism tears apart a person. A family should be a fortress. When you criticize there is no more shelter for that person.
vi. Be a refuge for one another.
Ecclesiastes 2:9-10 9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
When somebody is hurting in the family be there. Be in person or by phone, don’t text. When someone in the family is hurting and you don’t hurt, there is a problem. You need to be able to feel what others feel. Hear them, console them, help them out.
vii. Admit your failures.
All of us have failed at our family, admit your failures.
b. Strong families have great parent-children relationship.
i. Be consistent in what you do and say.
Mostly parents say something and do something else. If you say something, do what you say. Children watch you very carefully. When a father or mother say something to a child and don’t do it, it hurts them. Most people don’t remember it later, they don’t do it, and they don’t mention it. It says to a child that I am not important. Dad’s work is important, his car is important, but not me. To a child father is the authority. So when father does not keep promises, it builds stress, rejection. Later you will say my son is not listening to me. I will tell you why. Children will listen to you when you listen to them.
ii. Discipline children without rejection.
Proverbs 3:11-12 11My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
Don’t discipline when you are angry with your children.
iii. Don’t play favourites.
James 2:1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.
James 2:9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
iv. Don’t avoid the hard questions kids have.
When your child comes to you with a challenging question, take the time to help him find the right answer.
v. Don’t take sides.
Ecclesiastes 7:18 MSG It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it. When a problem comes don’t take sides. Always be honest about everything.
3. Outward relationship.
A strong family has the right relationship to members outside the family.
a. Right boundaries.
I actually believe boundary issues are the most difficult to deal with at the family level. Some of us, it seems, don’t know the definition of a boundary. In psychological terms it means “Knowing what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for.”
b. Choose godly friends.
Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
c. Care for others.
Proverbs 3:27-28 27Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. 28Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you.
Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
We have responsibility to our neighbours, to do good and it must start from our family. We have to do good by giving and also sharing Christ. We have Jesus in our lives and it is a sin not to give my neighbors what they need the most, that is Jesus. We need to teach our kids that.
A family is not when the father and mother makes a lot of money and teach kids to score good, and come up in life and make money. That is all good, these things are needed but that will not make a strong family. We need to work at strong relationships with God, inward and outward.
What if I am from a broken home?
Is there any way to have a strong home once it is broken? Yes it is but it might not be as strong as it could be but it can still be strong. How do you do that?
We started off our message with the father mother and children together. Remove that and everything after that you can practice in a home that is broken. What if one spouse is still a nonbeliever? What if you are a single parent? Your husband or wife or parents has left your family or your spouse has gone to be with the Lord? Whatever is going in your life, you can still practice all what I spoke today except that you do not have the companionship of a spouse. But don’t give up, God will still help you to have a strong family.
The father of Timothy was in all probability not a believer. Scholars say he was Greek whereas Timothy’s mother Eunice was a Jew. The father never believed in God, it was a marriage out of the covenant. Yet the mother brought Timothy in godly principles and we know from the Bible that at his young age Timothy became a minister of the Lord.
2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. This single believer mother raised a godly child. So it is possible to raise a godly, strong family even if you are a single parent.
a. Stay close to one another.
Stay physically and emotionally close to your children. They are a part of you and they are still your children. Let the children never feel like that their father or mother has left them. Let them never feel the vacuum of the death of a loved one.
Often times that is difficult especially if the wife and husband had had a terrible divorce and now that they are hating each other, and talking bad about one another to the children. Can you think about the burden and trauma in the child’s heart who sees one day his dad walk off or mother walk off and not come back? No matter what you tell them they don’t understand.
When someone walks off a marriage and neglect their children, they will have to give an account to the holy God for brining children into this world and you desert them and not realize that you tear apart that child’s heart. Their whole emotional being gets affected. You say, “They will get over it.” They never get over it. There as a scar as long as they live. This is why you do your best to keep that marriage together, sometimes you cannot and for real reasons or someone does not want to stay with you, but never talk bad to your children, stay physically and emotionally close to your children.
b. Increase your devotion together.
Remember when you do not have the security of one spouse or your father, God appears as a strong tower. Increase the time of prayer and reading the Bible with your children. Remind them that trusting God is more important than ever before. Now you do not have a father or a mother but now you have God. God is your father, God is your mother, God is your spouse now and he will provide your needs and our needs. Tell them that the heavenly Father will lead them and enable us to make it somehow.
Even if people have deserted you, you will be certainly be stronger than what you can think or imagine.
God wants us families to walk hand in hand. Today let’s prioritize our family to make it strong. Let’s Pray.