Written by Karen Carlson
I think it would be safe to say that virtually everyone wants to be a part of a loving, healthy, interactive family. We all want that sense of love and belonging—unconditionally. Healthy families, however, don’t just happen. In fact, nothing ‘great’ just happens! A great career doesn’t just materialize—the right preparations and decisions have to be made, day after day. The same holds true for those ‘great’ families where love, trust and inner peace abound—the right foundation simply must be in place!
Is Christ In It?
I remember as a child, one of my favorite TV programs was Lost In Space. Even as a child in 6th grade I was able to discern the Robinson family—strong and robust. The dad was a leader in the family who took charge. He was noble, principled and good; and it was obvious he loved his kids. The siblings got along with one another—it was a tight, close-knit family and I loved that! At 12 years of age I silently thought to myself: “That’s what I want!”
I’m convinced everyone wants the same thing—a family where strength, love and true emotional intimacy are everyday occurrences. It’s human nature, as a child, to desire parents who love one another; a home filled with peace and joy with a good dose of random fun and laughter thrown in at any given time of the day. We’re programmed to want those elements in a family that give us that sense of ‘all is good in my little corner of the world’.
And of course, parents want children who are obedient and respectful and well-adjusted. Having all this almost sounds too good to ever be true, doesn’t it? Actually, this is what God has intended; and this kind of secure and loving scenario is a lot more attainable than most people would ever imagine—but one thing simply has to be in place for this kind of healthy family scenario to develop, survive and thrive—the family’s foundation. And what that foundation is constructed of will determine whether or not life’s tests and trials within those families will make them or break them. Life in even the most loving families isn’t one big bowl of cherries where challenges, disruptions and commotions are kept at bay—far from it. Falling apart or standing victorious all boils down to one, single crucial question one must ask oneself: Is Christ the foundation of our home or is He not?
Whom Do We Serve?
In Joshua, Chapter 24, we see an important passage that applies here. Joshua took over for Moses after Moses died. Joshua was the one who led God’s Children into the Promised Land. Joshua is preparing to die—at the ripe old age of 110. He is talking to the Israelites one last time; and in verse 14 and 15 Joshua challenges the Israelites: “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. In verse 16, the Israelites responded by saying, ”God forbid that we should forsake the Lord…”
Joshua 24 is an incredibly important passage of scripture since it provides the key as to how we acquire a loving, healthy family—it is here where the actual foundation of one’s family is to be found; and it all has to do with how we view and treat the Lord– “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The bible is brimming with wisdom on how to handle any situation in life, and that includes how families should live together, work together and love together. It all depends on how we recognize and position Christ in our lives and how diligent we are with keeping Him in His rightful place.
Giving The Lord His Rightful Place:
In Joshua 24: 14 we read, “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness.” In other words, stand in awe of God! We need to recognize that God is God and we are not. We must give God His rightful place in our home. Giving God His rightful place in our family and standing in awe of Him is all tied up in verse 14—fearing the Lord! This doesn’t mean we fear God in a quaking-in-our-boots, frightful, dreadful sense, but the Lord wants us to stand in amazement and reverence of Him–and justifiably so! The reverent fear of the Lord is crucial; and if we look at the Book of Proverbs we are given these words: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The fear of the Lord signifies the ‘A-B-C’s’ of what you have to have to make it in life! It’s what you have to have to make it in your family! And Jesus should be the corner-stone of that family.
The chief corner-stone, as spoken of in the Bible, represents the most critical structural element of an entire building. In Jesus’ day, it was intended to support walls and provide strength for the rest of the building. With Jesus as the cornerstone, your family can experience actual mental, emotional and spiritual strength and security. Now, some might say, “Come on, aren’t you being just a tad dramatic?” And I’d have to respond by saying: “It’s not about dramatics, it’s about truth we can depend on and apply in our daily lives due to what the Bible professes and promises. Scripture puts it this way in Psalm 127: 1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” In other words, if Jesus isn’t the corner-stone of your family, then all your work is empty!
How Do I Use Jesus In My Family?
You might ask, “Well how do I do that? How do I take Jesus and use Him as the corner-stone in my family? I don’t know how!” Jesus tells us how to do that! In a parable in Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus specifically mentions two types of foundations. Here, a wise man has built his house upon the rock and the foolish man has built his house upon the sand. The point of that parable is that when the rains descended and the floods came and the winds blew (representing life’s adversities and challenges) the house built on sand fell—and great was its fall! The reason it fell was because it was founded on sand—it had no stability, just as if a family has no spiritual stability it, too, is prone to weakness and destruction when life becomes really tough. Jesus goes on to mention how the house built on the rock had the same storm—the same adversities in life. The house built on the rock didn’t fall. That’s what it means to build your life on Jesus! If we pay attention to Matthew 7:24 we find Jesus saying this: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts upon them may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock.” This is how we give the Lord His rightful place! This is how we use Jesus in our homes! We hear His Word, we take it seriously and we act upon it!
Strong Families Take Jesus Seriously:
We must do what Jesus tells us to do regarding using Him as the foundation of our family life. Jesus asks a direct question regarding those who profess to know Him, yet not follow Him. In Luke 6:46, Jesus says: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?” He makes a clear message of– I’m not really your Lord; I’m not really your God; I’m not really your boss because you’re not doing what I say for you to do! So how do we include Jesus?—we take Him very, very seriously and we include Him in every event in our lives—from the most mundane to the most celebrated!
Can you imagine if we ignored our boss at our workplace? If he or she tells us to do something, we naturally do it! But if you were to ignore your boss; you’d be fired. Isn’t it interesting how we feel so compelled to follow mere men but so many of us, regarding our family life, fail to follow the wisdom and command of our Lord? Again: “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do the things I say?”
As adults in a family, we need to inventory what or who is our cornerstone—if it isn’t Jesus, then when the rains come, we have nothing to cling to for hope, guidance and strength. Those who place Jesus as their home’s corner stone include the Lord in the family before all the trials in life make their way to one’s front door! Jesus mustn’t be thought of as a ‘911 God’ who gets called only in emergencies. God’s rightful place needs to be in place long before the tsunamis of life come crashing towards the shore. And when a family begins to recognize and make provisions for God’s rightful place in the home, a healthy family is born.