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Its Origin And Arrangement

Dr. S.D. Gordon writing about family life said:

A father and mother living together with their children, tender in their love, pure in their lives, strong in their convictions, simple and orderly in their habits, do infinitely more than presidents, governors and legislators can do in making a strong nation.

Doubtless he was correct, for strong family life is the backbone of any nation, and God's holy nation is no exception. Psalm 68 says God has set the solitary in families. It has been so from the beginning, for having made the first man He gave him a wife to be his helpmeet, and then children were born into that family setting. That has always been God's way, and He has arranged it so for His own glory and for the highest good of His creatures. Our great adversary knows this and consequently he is doing his utmost to disrupt family life and to destroy its foundations. Broken homes, single parent families, unwanted and uncared-for children are all too common in our day. Add to that battered wives and children being molested and abused and you have a little picture of how successful Satan has been in spoiling the beauty and happiness God intended in family life.

However, the lovely Bible pattern for godly family life still stands and much is written in the Scriptures for our guidance. We write, therefore, to remind one another of the great foundation principles that God has laid down for a happy and healthy family life.

The father is the head of the home. God has placed him in that position of responsibility and in his father-role he takes his example from God Himself. For God is the first Father after whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. It is a special time in a man's life when he becomes a father: something happens in his heart when for the first time he gazes at the precious bundle of life God has given to his wife and himself, and it dawns on him that he is responsible to provide and protect, to nurture and to guide. He may feel a sense of deep inadequacy and at such a time the wise words of Psalm 128 may be a message to his heart. The psalmist writes about a man fearing the Lord and walking in His ways, and to such man who makes this conscious decision the promise is:

Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as

a fruitful vine, in the innermost parts of thine house: thy children like olive plants, round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD (vv. 2~).

The wife as a fruitful vine is his God-given partner, God's helpmeet for him, to complement him as together they share family responsibility. Clear guidance is given in the apostle's teaching about their relationship to one another as they interact together. It has been well said that the terse instructions of Colossians 3:18,19 are like the two great pillars of Solomon's temple. They gave it strength and stability. And every godly husband and wife will build strength and stability into their family life if they build around these pillars of divine instruction - sacrificial agape love on the husband's part and resulting happy subjection on the part of the wife. And the lovely result will be that their union becomes a living demonstration of that greatest of all unions between Christ and His Church.

If your family is one where every member knows and loves the Lord Jesus you have a great foundation to build on. In such a family setting the instruction to children is, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right" (Eph. 6:1). But some belong to a divided family where some are believers and others not, and in such a situation the word to children is covered by Paul in his parallel teaching in Colossians, "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord" (3:20). Obedience is still required although the parents are not "in the Lord".

To the believing wife or husband who has an unbelieving partner, the Word of the Lord is clear; they are to dwell together (1 Cor. 7:12,13) and let the witness to the unbelieving spouse be more by example than by precept. And the apostle Peter plainly says that in the case of a believing wife with an unsaved husband she is still to be subject to him, for by such behaviour she may well gain him for the Lord (1 Pet. 3:1). To all such we write a word of encouragement. Keep on praying for your loved one and ask God's help to live in such a way that he or she will see the difference Christ makes in a person's life.

A father whose young son had been used to lead him to Christ was telling me his story. When his boy got saved he came home and spoke about it, and his father ridiculed him and did everything possible to put him off. But the boy clung to his faith. After this had been going on for some time, and the lad's faith remained unshaken, the father became so impressed he decided to look into spiritual things himself. Obtaining a Bible, he began to read it, secretly at first, and then openly. God brought another friend into his life who was able to explain the way of salvation to him, and the dear man accepted the Saviour for himself. And the change in their family life became evident to all who knew them. "I wouldn't have believed it could make such a difference" he said.

Christ makes all the difference, and when He is enthroned in our hearts as Lord, and father, mother and children order their lives and behaviour according to His Word, there is no limit to the blessing and happiness God will pour into their family life.