The Apostle Paul in an epistle (letter) to his very own son in the faith, Timothy, tells him with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that any man or woman who builds a HOME, a Christian Home, must take as a first priority the ruling of that home, before anything else, before any other service, even to God himself, which includes says Paul having the children in that home in subjection.
At the time of that writing, marriage was different than marriage today. For the most part, wives were subservient to their husbands, who were head of the household in virtually every way. The roles of fathers and mothers were different but each in the home was responsible for making sure that the home was fully Christian, and the children abided by those Christian rules and regulations in that home. Today, so it seems, there is far greater equality between husband and wife, mutual decision-making for the most part, shared responsibilities, and very much equal obligations with regard to the training up of children in the ways (Christian) they should go. But, there is no change in that absolute unconditional priority that if a man and a woman make a home with children, THAT is their first priority without exception.
The making and maintaining of that home require TIME, quality time, caring and loving time. That quality time should be one-on-one, each parent with each child, and quality time for family ALL TOGETHER. That quality time is really the only way that father and mother can train up that child in the way he or she should go so that when he or she is old, mature, an adult, making adult decisions, he or she will not depart therefrom.
That time includes careful, sincere, and devoted listening to the mind and heart of the child. It includes dialogue, question and answer, dealing with doubts, and of course, full transparency, anything, and everything thought and felt. That dialogue-parent-child relationship must be fully truthful, never corrupted by the lie. The gospel message, the forgiving love of Jesus Christ must be fully discussed, understood, and embraced. Then and only then can the child, and for that matter, the parent as well, be bold, strong, encouraged, and not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only then can every member of the family, especially the children, deal with the ridicule sure to come, the criticism, the ostracizing, and the negative reactions of peers. Only then can the child stand firm, in love, and refuse to compromise in any way the love and faith in Jesus Christ. ONLY THEN!
The family should have regular time to discuss together, pray together, study the scriptures together, grow the faith together, learn to testify about that faith together, and perhaps above all, discuss doubts about the faith, pose questions and seek 2
answers, full understanding from the family, or others, and of course, seek the intercession and influence of THE HOLY SPIRIT.
That powerful family group, seeking and learning in the ways of the Lord, should learn a new sense of gratitude and thankfulness. They should learn together to praise God, to look for better growth and association with the Holy Spirit that very day. That family group should learn to experience a new sense of joy. Life should take on greater meaning and life should therefore become more abundant and enjoyed to the fullest. A real Christian family is a happy family, having fun and good times together. That family should learn to pray without ceasing, ever learning the joy of constant fellowship with the Lord in a private, often non-verbal way, with a heart always open to the Lord, never shut off, and always ready to receive the Love of God in Christ Jesus.
Fundamentals of the Christian faith should be discussed. Perhaps the most important is that of what it means to be a BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN. Believing, that giving one’s life to Christ, may occur in different ways for each individual of the household and that individuality should be fully expressed even as the commonality, the basics remain the same.
Discussion is so important with regard to what is regarded by scripture as SIN. And then, the forgiveness of sin. And more. That is, any questions or enlightenments which any of the household members have and can share with others.
Children should be encouraged to express their thinking as to how God is leading them in their lives, what careers they may wish to pursue, and how as adults they would wish to live their lives as God intended. That may be like the father or mother, or something entirely different as God intends.
The family should understand the concept of Christian witness. Be ready says the scripture to give a reason for the hope, the faith, the belief that is within you. The testimony of that faith is critically important. That can be verbal, words. That can be actions and acts, the deeds of a true Christian. A powerful Christian message can be sent by works showing the world that faith, by those works, is very much alive. Or, perhaps sometimes by silence, refusing to be tempted, refusing to respond to ridicule, learning not to test the pearls of true faith before those (swine) who would trample upon them. The challenge of witnessing is more difficult than ever and it should be a subject of discussion at all times with the true Christian family.
Most importantly, the Christian home must be characterized at all times by:
LOVE – CHRISTIAN LOVE.
Early on, we learn that God is love. And, that love is greater than faith, hope, or anything else in this world or the world to come. That love of Christ should be the love between each family member for the other. A true Christian is known by the world as one filled with, expressing, and living LOVE. There was no greater love expressed to all humankind than the love of Jesus Christ who laid down his life for all. That love unto death is the ultimate love and as much of that as possible should be shared by the family unit. 3
It is a tremendous responsibility to build a home, to have children. But it is an enormous privilege, a fabulous faith-filled adventure with nothing else in this world as fulfilling, NOTHING. Home is where the heart is, where Jesus Christ reigns supreme, and where love abounds. Small wonder it is far and away the number one priority of any Christian parent!