When you look at families in India, mostly in cities and even in rural places there is a gradual break down of family bonds happening more than ever before. In the last two decades divorces have become more and more common in our city and across the nation and looks like we are playing catch-up with the west in this regard to our own detriment. In the US, according to a study done by Dr. Patrick Fagan of Family Research Council, only 45 percent of U.S. teenagers aged between 15-17 years of age in 2008 were living in homes with both biological parents present.
Marriage is an institution created by God and is an earthly representation of the union between Christ and His bride the Church, and is also the very foundation of civil society. The devil is bent on destroying this foundation and he is out to bind the strong man (Matt 12:29), in this case it is the husband, the head of the household (Eph 5:23).
The way the husband goes determines the direction of the household; hence the challenge for us men in these times is four-fold:
1. To be a Christ-like Husband to your spouse and leading your family according to biblical guidelines (Read Eph 5:23-25, 6:4). It also means treating your wife with unconditional love and viewing her as your best friend and help-meet. It is vital to pray regularly for your wife and children, apart from having your own family devotion time.
2. Another critical area is to provide for the household financially.
Paul in his epistle to Timothy (1 Tim 5:8) puts it very sternly “But if a man makes no provision for those dependent on him, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is behaving worse than an unbeliever”. It is crucial for your family’s well being that you involve your spouse in all financial matters and that the decisions are taken together in agreement (Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”) along with teaching your children the biblical principles concerning finance and its handling.
3. To walk in Integrity: to be a man of God. A man of God is one who exemplifies God’s values, who lives by God’s truth and one who resembles the character of Christ Jesus.
Ps 24:3-4 says “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully”.
Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees in Matt 23:25-26 saying “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”
It’s so vital to focus on the inside stuff as David wrote in Ps 51:6 “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” It’s time we men rise up and walk the talk and make our inner most parts pleasing to the Lord.
4. To be a Father in the community
As Paul puts it “For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers” (1 Cor 4:15a). An instructor does not carry personal responsibility of the growth and well being of his students, but a Father does. He carries a unique burden for his children before God.
· A Father finds time for his children and relishes the experience with them.
· Encourages, corrects, challenges and builds them up.
· Offers to be a mentor; and prays for them.
· Celebrates their success with them.
Beloved, the church is the place where you get built-up and equipped to fully function in the call which God has laid on your lives. As Paul puts it in Col 1:28 “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.”
It’s time to rise up and take your true place in Christ, and thereby strengthening your marriage, your home, your community and your nation.