Defining Family

August 13th, 2013

by Blake Chilton

It has been said lately that family in America is under attack. There is much truth to this statement as we can see the carnage all around our communities. Perhaps the foundation of this catastrophe lies in the fact that many have lost the definition of family. Family was intended to be more than just a group of people living under the same roof. Family has a specific function in the world. When we lose sight of this particular purpose our homes can easily become nothing more than a place for denizens. We must get back to the biblical design for the family in order for it to function properly. This begins with us as parents. We cannot assume that our children will behave if we don’t understand what our role in their lives must be. Simply put, our role in their lives is to biblically inform and prepare with intentionality. The first problem is that so few of us actually have a plan for this. Paul David Tripp says it plainly, “that most parents are more organized, more intentional, better researched, and more goal-oriented when planning their vacations than they are in raising their children.” Now that we’ve had our teeth kicked in let us move on to a better understanding of how our families should operate.

We must first begin with the all important understanding that the family is GOD’s primary learning community. This is clearly stated in Deuteronomy 6.4-9. I believe that GOD outlines two avenues for us to biblically inform and prepare our children here. One is a formal training, while the other is informal. This formal training refers to specific times set aside for informing our children about GOD’s truth. This may look like a family worship time or a devotional time at the breakfast table. The text also describes an informal setting as we are commanded to teach our children as we walk by the way. I see this as biblically informing them as we go about our day, as situations arise, we insert biblical truths into their lives. These moments are unplanned and usually the most effective. Both of these avenues for communicating GOD’s truth are imperative for preparing our children with a biblical worldview. This great task falls primarily on the parents to make sure that the family functions as a learning environment. We must use every moment, every problem, every conflict, every question, every joy and every sorrow to biblically prepare them.

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