THE IMPORTANCE OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE
The family unit was designed by God as his primary earthly tool for manifesting Himself, portraying His glory to mankind, receiving and carrying out His commands on earth, and as the center of worship for God’s Kingdom on earth.
Marriage is the only earthly institution that God compares with the relationship between Christ and His Church (His Body) — Eph. 5: 24-27; Rev. 19:7-9.
God set up three major institutions at the beginning of time:
Institution of Marriage — Genesis 1:27-31 & 2:18-25.
Institution of the Church — Mathew 16:18; Col. 1:18; Acts 2:47; Acts 20:28.
Institution of Government — Romans 13:1-7.
YOUR MARRIAGE COMES FIRST
Of all three institutions, marriage is the highest on earth, followed by the church (its pastors, ministers, different servants, and all the saints). Any form of good government, society, or nation, must therefore flow from good marriages and productive families, accompanied by good, spiritual, fruitful churches and their leaders.
Marriage is the foundation for the family, and families are the foundation for all societies and nations. We have to note that God instituted marriage before the church was founded. Your marriage and family life should therefore be your highest priority, and should receive the maximum attention more than your education, work, position of authority or responsibility, ministry, and other activities or ambitions.
The following are some of the major factors that underscore (emphasize) the importance of Marriage and Family Life:
1) The Family Is The Foundation Of The Church And Every Nation
God created one man and one woman to marry and form the institution of family at the beginning of time, in order for families to manage and enjoy what God created on earth. The family unit is the foundation of every other institution, community, and nation. Show me a weak church or nation, and I will show you the weak families in that church or nation. Conversely, a strong church or nation implies strong families within that church or nation. If we focus on building healthy and strong families, our ministerial, community, and national plans will succeed and yield better results, and our citizens will also be more responsible and united.
2) God’s Blessings Are Family Blessings
Genesis 12: 1-3
God originally planned that families should be the channels for all of His blessings for mankind. Every blessing of God that comes into your life is, in reality, a blessing for your family. Your success or failure is therefore not for you alone; it is for your home and family first, and for everyone else around you as well. The first thing God did to the first married couple (Adam and Eve) was to bless them (Genesis 1: 28). After the sin and fall of man, God made fresh plans to use His covenant with Abraham and his family as the point of contact to bless all other families of the earth.
3) The Family Is The Best Name Used By God For All Believers In Heaven And On Earth
Ephesians 3: 14-21; Galatians 6: 10.
Apart from the term “Body of Christ” which is commonly used as a term for all believers in Christ (The Church), the term “Family” is the best that God uses for all Believers in Heaven and on the Earth (Ephesians 3: 15). Another term used is “Household of Faith” (e.g. Galatians 6: 10), which also pertains to family life. God refers to all those in Heaven and on earth that belong to Him as His family, connected by His tremendous power and love. The term “family” is the best that God could use for all universal Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (Christians), plus those in Heaven. Indeed, all Christians share a common Holy Spirit (Spirit of Jesus or Spirit of God), and share common biblical principles that create a common bond for the Church (Body of Christ). Nothing else can best describe this strong bond of fellowship apart from the concept of family. Our family connections and obligations should therefore constitute the strongest connections we have in the world.
4) God’s Executes His Plans On Earth Through Family Lines Of Inheritance
Mathew 1: 1-17
When I first accepted Jesus and became a Christian 38 years ago (1969), I usually skipped the reading of Mathew 1: 1-17 and began from Mathew chapter one verse 18, whenever I opened that part of the Bible, because it appeared very boring and meaningless to me. After a while I came to understand that without that portion, the Bible would not even exist, because the whole of the scriptures centered on all those families mentioned. The genealogy, beginning from Abraham, finally gave birth to the earthly family of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God emphasizes the importance of family by taking time to enumerate families, and even attaches the names of fathers to the names of His servants (e.g. Isaiah the son of Amoz – Isaiah 1:1, or Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah – Nehemiah 1:1). It is even true among us, that we usually derive our own lessons and inspiration by recounting the names, bravery, and achievements of our parents, grandparents, the ancestors of our families.
5) God’s Covenant And Revelations Are For Our Descendants And Families
Genesis 17: 1-12; Deuteronomy 29: 29; & Isaiah 54: 3, 13
God seeks to make a Blood covenant through the Blood of Jesus with anyone who is His child in Christ. The covenant of God is a divine, spiritual, unbreakable agreement that is designed to affect and all the generations of the person. God reveals or shows things to you (including showing or confirming to you whom to marry, what career to pursue, what ministry to engage in etc.) in order for you to obey and worship Him, especially you and your children and other family members. God considers the family unit so important that He does not do anything on earth without some reference to family, children, or generations. One of God’s primary purposes is to pour enough of His grace and blessings into families for them to become a blessing to others, and transfer the physical, spiritual, and social legacy to children in the family who will in turn pass the good things on to their children. This is why God gives children in marriages — to build very strong families that are spiritually sound under the control of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Families that humbly manage His resources and blessings wisely, train their children to do the same, and promote the expansion of God’s Kingdom, are the best families.
6) Jesus Came To The Earth To Save Mankind Through A Family
Mathew 1: 18-25
God’s ultimate salvation plan was through a family — Joseph and Mary, the earthly parents of Jesus. It is important to note that when God decided to finally come down from Heaven to save mankind, He chose a prospective husband and his wife in a family setting, to be born, dwell, prepare Himself, and minister to us before finally laying down His life to die for us on the Cross. Is it wise then, for many of us to ignore our spouses and other family members when making plans or engaging in activities, which ultimately affect them as well? How many marriages and families are having problems today and are even dysfunctional, because a husband, father, wife, mother, son, daughter, or some other family member would not become humble and communicate properly, or involve other important family members in a project or day-to-day activities for better results? It is true that we should avoid unnecessary in-law and other family interferences in marriages and other family affairs; but that is not a legitimate excuse for self-centered lifestyles that cut off other family members or even a spouse, in order to be greedy and enjoy good things alone in an un-loving and selfish way.
7) God Placed Family In The Middle Of The 10 Commandments
Exodus 20: 12-17
God considers the family unit so important that He put family in the middle of the 10 Commandments (Commandment number 5). Honoring your father and your mother was the first Commandment of God with a promise attached — for longer life on earth. It is the first of the Commandments that formed the basis of the other Commandments that detail our duties to man. The common saying: “Charity begins at home”, is therefore true, isn’t it? Your main character is molded in the home where you lived and was brought up. How people see you outside is exactly how you are at home and among your family members. Unfortunately for us, parenting started in the sinful state of man, and is a tough assignment. But that is no excuse for doing a poor job by not training children under your supervision to learn how to respect authority, use resources wisely, become honest and diligent, build moral character, and take responsibility for their actions. When parents and adults open their hearts to the Spirit of Jesus as their Lord, and teach children to do the same, the training becomes easier as the entire family meditates daily on God’s word, and enjoy fellowship with God in constant prayer.
8) God’s Work Is Designed To Be Done Effectively By Families
Nehemiah chapter 3
When Nehemiah was re-building the walls of Jerusalem, the project was accelerated and done effectively because individual family units, or family leaders and their followers within the community, teamed up enthusiastically and labored diligently alongside other families and groups. Each family was assigned a specific portion of the wall to construct, and everyone did a great job. The strongest labor unit within each nation or society is the family unit. In the olden days, most of the farming was done by groups of families, and families run many of the businesses, which later became family inheritance. No matter your calling and your gifting or resources, you are never alone in ministry without your family. The name you even carry around is a family name, and everything that happens to you affects everyone in your family.
It is unfortunate how many married Pastors, Evangelists, Other Ministers and Church Leaders are running ahead with their ministry and other services without any proper plan that involves their spouses and other family members in an appropriate way. Other ministers go to the other extreme by instituting meaningless ordination of their wives and children who sometimes have no calling at all in specific roles that they force them to occupy, simply because of the selfish motive of being in full control of the ministry as their personal property that no outsider should have a significant share in. We do not discount the fact that God could lead you in His will, to commission your spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, sister, or in-law to occupy a higher office in your ministry or church, or be in charge of affairs after you have retired or died. But, this should be sanctioned by God, who is the real owner of every church and ministry, and must be in line with the gifts and calling of your child or family member in whose hands you are entrusting God’s holy things. It should not be engineered by your own personal desires and wishes, or motivated by an attempt to copy what you saw another minister doing, or trying to twist some portion of scriptural text as a pretext to execute your personal ambitions.
9) God’s Promises And Blessings For The Church, Are For Families
Acts 2: 37-39
When the New Testament Church was formally born (inaugurated by the Holy Spirit) on the Day of Pentecost, the Lord spoke through the Apostle Peter and firmly stated that the promise of His salvation and redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was for us, and for all of our children down the generation lines as well.
10) God’s Salvation Is Designed For Families
Acts 10: 2; Acts 16:31, 34; Acts 18: 8
God designed His salvation to be a divine plan that saves and delivers an individual plus his family members. It is never the will of God for you to be saved, while He refuses or neglects to save your parents, children, spouse, or other family members. God wishes to save our family members, but we must cooperate with Him and play our expected part which God cannot execute for us. It is our duty to persevere in prevailing prayer for our family members in order for them to be saved and delivered one day. We must ensure that we study and know God’s word, and live holy, orderly, consistent lives that convince them that the Christian life we live in the Lord and by His power, is worth embracing wholeheartedly. Our unsaved loved ones and outsiders must see that our lives preach the true gospel that declares loudly through our actions that Christ has abundant life and many other precious gifts to offer those who accept and live for the Lord.
This why Paul told the Jailor: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16: 31). God’s salvation is for your household — your entire family, including everyone who lives in your home. In counseling, I have always encouraged people with unsaved loved ones to use this verse in the Bible as one of God’s promises that we can stand upon to pray for the salvation of our loved ones.
11) The Family Is A Small Church
1 Timothy 5: 1, 2
Every church is made up of families that form little churches within the big church. A strong church implies strong families within that church, or vice versa.
“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 1: 1, 2).
In this passage, God instructs us how to treat each other as church members. The words ‘father’, ‘mother’, ‘brother’, and ‘sister’, are all derived from family life. It means that we are to be trained to know these family categories and their meanings at home, and bring to church and use the father, mother, brother, and sister concept to organize our churches and be able to fellowship together very well. Therefore, if parents, guardians, and elders, do not take time to teach children and young people how to respect designated authorities in their homes and families, they grow up to be irresponsible adults who do not know how to respect and treat people properly. They consequently bring this spirit and habit to church. One role or purpose of the church then, is to teach people the value of family life and its vital components. We therefore come to church to learn how to become better fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. Then we go home to practice the scriptural principles we received, and return the next Sunday to thank and praise God for the fruit we produced during the week, especially in our marriages, homes, and family interactions.
12) Obedience, Training, Love, And All Values, Are Centered In The Home And Family
Ephesians 6:1-9; Colossians 3: 18-25
Family values are the foundational values for successful life, rooted in God’s word. It is the home and its associated family life that we learn how to love and share all things, pray, study God’s word, forgive, practice diligence, take responsibility for our actions, and learn all the necessities for a successful life. The raising and training of children to become mature, healthy, responsible, and fruitful adults, take place in homes and families. The home and its family life setting is where obedience and fear of God are taught for the first time, and that is where fathers give the first impression about God the father to children. Children and adults alike learn to be responsible and disciplined in our homes and families. If we do not recognize these factors and expect any persons or agency outside of our homes and family circles to accomplish training and impartation of values for us, then we have grossly misfired, and will reap the tragic results of failure in human lives, including even active church members and church leaders who pay no special attention to their home and family affairs.
13) Talents, Gifts, And Skills Are Developed And Blossomed In Homes And Families
Psalm 128; Proverbs 31: 10-31
During the processes of home activities, marriage relationships, and family interactions, all of our talents, gifts, and abilities are properly developed, tried, used, perfected, and further prepared for greater application to bless others. Adults impart their wisdom, talents, trades, and skills to growing children as well as adults who take time to master their individual skills, and young people take after their parents, elders, and mentors.
The true qualities and value of a woman are ultimately brought out and exhibited in a marriage, home, and family setting. It is the duty of a husband to live in obedience to God’s word, love his wife, encourage the woman to grow to full maturity, and develop all of her talents and skills to support the husband and family (Psalm 128: 1-4).
14) God Designed His Word For Successful Family Life
Isaiah 59: 21; Deuteronomy 29: 29; Acts 20: 20; Psalm 128;
God planned that His word should produce its ultimate and eternal results for successful marriage and family life. If marriage is the only human institution compared with the relationship between Christ and the Church, then any word for mankind is intended to finally produce its lasting effects on marriage and family life. Every word from God for an individual or group should finally become a word for the family that the person or persons belong to. When we obey God’s instructions and receive God’s grace and God’s blessings, we deposit the end results in our marriages, homes, and families.
Copyright Nov. 2008 Rev. Dr.Samuel A. Kisseadoo (Professor of Biology, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, USA)
Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA.
Ph 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335 [email protected]