By Dr. Nicolas Ellen, Biblical Counseling Professor
Now that we have looked at the premise of a family as God designed, we must consider the priority of the family. The family is the foundation for every other institution. The Church, the neighborhood, and our society all exist because of families. The entire social structure owes its existence to the family. Think about it. What institution could function without the family?
Second, we must consider that the family was the only entity on earth commanded to be fruitful and multiply (Gn 1:28). This was not commanded to institutions or to governments; it was commanded to the family. Families are the lifeline of our society. Everyone that exists comes from a family. This explains why distortions and deficiencies in our families will produce distortions and deficiencies in every other human institution. For instance, the educational system is being negatively impacted by poor family dynamics. As families are falling away from God’s design, schools are having a difficult time teaching children. They are trying to do what God designed the family to do. The government is seeking to take care of children that were to be taken care of by the family. This results in financial challenges for government and society.
Do you realize that your family had a major impact on the person you are today? Your family did not make you who you are, but they did have an impact on who you are. You have learned to respond either positively or negatively to the experiences in your family. You tend to compare all other experiences to what happened to you in your family. You may find yourself trying to escape from the experiences of your family or trying to create the experiences of your family. Either way you have been influenced by your family in a major way. This has an impact on a marriage relationship. This is why an evaluation of God’s design for a family in connection to the kind of family you and your spouse have had and the family you are seeking to have is very important.
Even though sin has corrupted mankind, God still has a picture of how He wants a family to function, and He will give you the power to function according to His picture. If families function as God designed, they can expect God’s blessing as a result. The family is:
- To be a place of companionship where a husband and wife work together to accomplish God’s will resulting in living out a covenant marriage before God and others (Gn 2:18-25).
- To be a place where the husband is a servant leader to the wife and family in all aspects of the family (Eph 5:22-6:4).
- To be a place where the wife supports her husband and family in all aspects of the family (Prv 31:10-31).
- To be place where children are born and valued (Ps 127:3-5).
- To be a place where the will of God is taught and lived out from generation to generation, resulting in Christian character, conduct, and conversation being developed accordingly (Dt 4:1-9, Lk 6:40-45, Ti 2:1-5).
- To be a place where children are taught to obey and respect God and all other authority, through discipline and instruction from the Word of God (Eph 6:4).
- To be a place where mothers and fathers are honored through the wisdom of their children (Prv 10:1).
- To be a place where people are an asset and not a liability to each other resulting in bearing each other’s burdens and meeting the needs of one another (Ps128:1-6, Rom 12:9-21)
- To be a place where people live by the commandments of God from the heart and not allow the traditions of the culture or other family members to hinder their obedience resulting in the fruit of God being produced by all (Jam 3:13-18, John 15:1-8).
This picture of God’s will for marriage and family is possible through the power of God. This picture should be what you strive for in your marriage and family. Now that you have looked at God’s definition and design for a family, you must evaluate your own definition and design for a family. Do you have in mind what God had in mind? Does your spouse have in mind what God had in mind? The two of you must decide if you will do it God’s way or seek to do it your way.
Dr. Ellen is a full time Counseling Professor for the College of Biblical Studies, and he also pastors a church. For more information, visit his website: http://www.cofhouston.com/