Here is a family revelation we have worked on ever since our kids began speaking and expressing themselves. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Can you relate to how much I felt my toes stepped on reading those verses? Those two verses should convict anyone who reads them.
So, to be real with you, I am not perfect. (You’re surprised, right?!) There are times when I look more at myself than others. Putting my fleshly desires into the context of parenting, it feels easy to justify my behaviors. I am the parent, right? I am paying the bills around here and I deserve respect. Ouch. I am guilty of that thought pattern at times.
We are all a work in progress. The big term we throw around in Christianity is sanctification, which is the process in which we become more like Jesus. Much like last week’s discussion about being moldable we also need to have a lot of self-realization.
Am I being selfish? Am I putting the interests of others ahead of my own interests?
So, how does this play out in a family? Well, as parents – and I am assuming more parents will be reading this than children – we have to be the more mature ones in the relationship. Hopefully, we have allowed God more time to work out the kinks we have as parents, but again, we are still a work in progress. We need to be honest with our families and admit to them that we are not without our faults but that we desire to be more Christlike and more intentional in being humble and serving others.
Families are often stuck in the minutia of daily life, and they focus on the lack of feeling close or they focus their connection on only shared experiences. Now, don’t get me wrong, shared experiences allow time for families to bond and make wonderful memories, but they shouldn’t be our goal. Shared experiences without depth will not produce fruit in the individual or in the family as a whole.
What would your family look like if you concentrated on shared experiences that were others’ focused? Others’ focused both within the home and outside the home. Ministry within the home and in the community.
Frequently when we hear the word ministry, we think that is only a job that is performed by clergy, pastors, or another type of minister. And, we, unfortunately, expect the paid church leaders to “perform” services for us. This “consumer view” plays out in the family as well. We say, ‘well, that’s what dad does,’ ‘that’s what children are for,’ etc?
But God has a different perspective. Peter highlights this in the following verses, “you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) and “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
Who is he talking about being the royal priesthood? That can’t be me and you, can it? For us who have called upon His name and have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He is talking to us. We are living stones, spiritual houses, royal priests who are acceptable through Christ Jesus.
You may say, ‘yes, I know I am saved, but I have no idea about what to do with my family; they don’t want me to change things or manage our household differently.’ Know that along with your salvation you also possess and have access to the much more than you may imagine. Peter continues, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
Everything. Not just some things, or most things, or even one simple thing. No. Everything – everything needed for living out a life of godliness we already have because we have the knowledge of Him who called us.
Learning how to utilize what God has given us and apply it to our daily lives will take time, but God’s Word tells us we can do it. We can apply that to our families. Families deserve our best, and that best is His divine power.
Now, go forth as God sees you. Royal. Priest. Godly. Full of knowledge.
It does not happen sitting on the couch watching a screen. It does take you to participate.
Your family is waiting. You can do it.