THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY
From A Holiness Perspective
This book is a series of articles on issues related to the family and child-raising. It is designed to cover most of the key elements to having a family that pleases God. It is written from a holiness standpoint. That is, it is written from the perspective of Christians who have completely consecrated their lives to the Lord and whose sole purpose in life is to glorify God in everything they do, say, think, go, desire, own, and feel. They are living their lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He is either Lord of all, or He is not really Lord at all.
Therefore, raising a family from a holiness perspective means that all selfishness and personal ambitions and desires have been submitted to the rule of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. It will be difficult for a parent to obey much of what is in this book without a strong desire to live holy. Thus, we have made the assumption that our readers have consecrated their lives to God and are wanting only what God wants in their lives and their families.
By no means is this a comprehensive manual on child raising and family life. This is just a brief outline; many, many things have been left out for the sake of brevity. Instead, we have included the main principles that govern family life, and the details will be worked out by the participants and the Holy Spirit on a day by day, moment by moment basis. It would be impossible for us to write an all inclusive family manual.
Please note that nothing said here is meant to discourage or browbeat any parent, especially those who are single or who have been victims of divorce, unsaved spouses, and other circumstances beyond their control. Parenting is the most difficult job in the world, so we all need each other's earnest prayers and ceaseless support, not condemnation. We have written these words as instruction, exhortation, and encouragement.
Any parent who does not fully realize the sobering thought that by raising their children they are really raising their own future grandchildren and great-grandchildren is rather shortsighted. It is just as some wise man once said: "The time to begin properly raising children is twenty years before they are born," i.e., by properly raising their parents. Every Christian parent must raise his children with this thought in mind, that he is training his children to train their children to train their children. If we do not prepare our children to be good husbands, wives, and parents, we are in effect ruining, not only their lives, but the lives of our grand children and their children.
Several generations and untold numbers of souls are at stake. The moral characteristics of a family are passed down from generation to generation. This is why in Old Testament times God would sometimes eliminate certain evils and unwholesome characteristics among His people by eliminating, not just the guilty party, but his whole household, denying them full restoration and social acceptance down to the third, fourth, and even tenth generation! (See Deuteronomy 23:2; 5:9; Exodus 20:5.)
It is time for us Christian parents to realize that we have not really been successful with our children until we have truly passed them from our control into God's control, still saved, still loving the Lord in a real, personal relationship with Him, and, ideally, still involved in some type of service to Him.
We are not successful merely because we have kept them from going to jail, having babies out of wedlock, or being self-destructive and non-productive. We are not successful just because we spent a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and money making an honest effort struggling to raise them. We are not successful just because we educated them to become somebody great, famous, or rich. From a holiness perspective, our success must be measured in terms of the next world, not this one.
Parenthood is not an area where we get an “A for effort.” We have got to do it right to the finish; too much is at stake to view failure as an option. Our standard must be to preserve the children God gives us in uninterrupted loyalty and dedicated service to Him from childhood to adulthood. Remember, the promise actually said, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). It did not say he shall go away from God, making an utter fool of himself for many years, destroying and permanently ruining his life, his family, and his health, then finally seeing his error and bringing his mess back for God to salvage.
It is wonderful and relieving when our wayward children do come back to God, but we see this verse as saying that it is possible for us to keep them from ever leaving God. We know that many Christian parents may not really believe it this way, but we make no apology for believing it the way it appears to read: "...they will not depart..."
This must be the challenge to all Christian parents. May God bless us all.
Philip & Segatha Matthews