Discover God’s design and purpose for family
God’s design for family – every family – is really about something bigger.
Ask anyone if family really matters and most, if not all, would say it does. The real question, though, is “Why does family matter?”
Have you ever wondered what God has in mind for the family? Family matters because we get to journey through life together; stopping along the way to give our loved ones and others a glimpse of the love we have accepted, and the love we feel, from a very real God who made everything in the beginning.
Throughout Scripture, God employs the language of family to characterise divine relationships. He is repeatedly identified as our heavenly Father, and as believers, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. And the relationship between Christ and His church is likened to that of a bridegroom and his bride.
These biblical allusions to the family are not an accident. In a real sense, they tell us something about God. Healthy family dynamics not only reveal the things of God, but they also directly reflect Him.
All the problems common to family in every culture point to the fact that no family has been exempt from the corrupting nature of sin. We’re all infected with the same “it’s all about me” nature. But God wants to show Himself in the midst of that brokenness.
It could well be that as we each experience a measure of messiness with our family, we can also experience a measure of redemption from the Creator of family. More than perfection, God desires connection for each one of us. The sense of belonging that comes with family is where the beauty of God’s nature can be revealed so easily.
It’s really about encountering God’s amazing grace and love for us and sharing the grace and love with others. For that, we need to start with our own family. We need to constantly model God’s great love and forgiveness in our family.
There are simply no perfect families and family life will never be neat and tidy on this side of eternity. Even the healthiest family is flawed and sinful. It is in the imperfection and crucible of family that Christ does much of His deepest refining work in His people.
God’s design for family – every family – is really about something bigger. In fact, all Christian families, even in their brokenness and imperfection, can play a part in revealing God’s love and nature to the world. In so doing, every family can make a positive, redemptive impact on the world around them.
Family is truly important to God, and no one knows this better than Satan, God’s jealous enemy, who has a deep interest in messing up God’s design. He will always try to destroy that which God loves.
Consider the host of social ills we face today: abuse, addictions, crime, divorce, etc. The root issues can be traced in one way or another to the breakdown of the family. Our attempts to redefine and re-imagine family only make these problems worse, not better. When we deviate from God’s design for family, society suffers, but when we embrace it, society thrives.
For this reason, it is imperative for us to have a biblical understanding of family matters – to know the truth of God’s plan and embrace His design for the family. For example, God created men and women to be different, and one key to a great marriage is to work with His design rather than against it. Differences that God intended for good all too often divide us because we don’t know they exist – or we don’t see them as legitimate.
If we believe that family is, and should continue to be the basic building block of our nation because it reveals God’s nature, then it starts with us truly grasping its importance and living it out in our families.
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Dinah Lee-Phua currently serves as Head of Family Networks with Focus on the Family and the Master Trainer for their Marriage Mentoring Training. She also teaches, mentors and conducts workshops regularly in the areas of marriage and parenting. Married to Ben for over 22 years now, they are parents of 19-year-old twins, Deborah and Daniel. For nearly two decades, Dinah was co-pastor with Ben and throughout this time, she was personally involved in spearheading several ministries and led a diverse range of people groups – from kids to young working adults, couples to families.