Mark 10:9 (NIV): “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate”.
Marriage and family are God’s design. He is the creator and centre of what family means. When we honour and commit to building and investing in our families, we are expressing God’s heart. A family that glorifies God; and builds their lives on His principles, will grow and flourish as they continue to walk in faith and obedience. Just as Jesus’ love is attractive, a Godly family attracts others to be “like” them. The love and compassion displayed through healthy marriages and families give hope to a broken world. When we become a channel through which God can work; His grace, mercy, love, peace, joy, forgiveness and kindness can overflow from us to the families around us, to our communities, and ultimately to our nation.
Let us be determined this week to monitor and evaluate the health of our lives, our marriages and our families, based on the following twelve foundation-stones:
God-first, Christ-led, Holy Spirit-inspired living. A strong, healthy marriage and family are built on knowing God, and glorifying Him in all we do. It’s about demonstrating Jesus’ love and becoming more Christ-like in our relationships. It’s allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us and infuse us with the strength and energy we need to perform the tasks He sets before us. If our families are grounded in God, our roots will go down deep – to weather the storms of life.
Commitment to the Word of God. God’s Word is our blueprint for understanding what healthy, strong marriages and families look like. Let’s be intentional when it comes to reading God’s Word, speaking about it, and letting it guide us, change us and help us grow.
Continual and consistent prayer. Our faith is built one prayer at a time. God’s miracle-working power is released when we seek Him first and surrender all to Him – including our loved ones. Let’s pray without ceasing for our marriages, for our families and for our societies.
Unconditional love. Conflict, strife, jealousy or being absent from each other’s lives are often reasons for brokenness and separation. The Bible teaches us that LOVE is the most important element for happiness in our lives. Our Heavenly Father shows us daily what unconditional love means; so let us love others, the way Jesus loves us!
Unity and oneness. If we want family unity, we need to cultivate an environment for honest, open and clear communication; mutual respect; and the valuing of our loved ones (Philippians 2:3-4). This means that each family member should understand their role within the family, and walk confidently in it. The enemy has one goal, and that is to distort God’s image for marriages and families; in order to bring division and separation. That’s exactly what he did with Adam and Eve – he turned them against each other. Let’s pray that God will protect our families against any division – and that we will walk together in unity towards His goals and plans for us.
Companionship. Companionship grows from a spirit of oneness (and links to our previous point). This happens when we become best friends. God made marriage and created family units so that we can experience love and enjoy life together. That also means that we celebrate every family member’s uniqueness, and individual calling – and grow stronger together as we discover and embrace God’s plan for us.
Forgiveness. Unforgiveness and bitterness are what the enemy uses to divide and separate. Let’s be quick to forgive – it’s absolutely vital for healthy relationships (2 Corinthians 2:5-11). Families that respect, honour and forgive one another, provide healthy examples to a broken world.
Servanthood. Serving others is front and central – Jesus modelled this to us throughout His life on earth. This involves helping one another to grow and flourish in life; as well as laying our own pride and selfish desires down for those we love. Let’s be generous towards others. This is how we become Jesus’ hands and feet on earth.
Protection. In scripture, we witness a wonderful picture of God’s love and care towards us: A husband is to protect and love his wife by laying down his life for her, just as Jesus did for us all (Ephesians 5:25); a wife is to protect the interests of their home and honour her husband (Titus 2:4–5); and parents are to protect and teach their children to live Godly lives (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6-9). It’s a gift from God to be cared for, loved, honoured and to be protected by our loved ones.
Surrender to God. We must trust that God is writing the stories of our families. We need to surrender to His will and His control daily. We need to entrust our loved ones to His unfailing promises and sovereignty! He is our obstacle removing, miracle working Father!
Connectedness. We are not only part of our natural families, but also part of the bigger family of God. Being connected to a healthy church family is key; and helps our families to grow and do life together, learn from one another and support each other through life’s journey – and that’s how together, we become a cornerstone for our societies.
Generational impact. It is essential that families are intentional about learning from history to understand the present and see a brighter future. We learn from the Bible and those who went before us, about how we should behave in the present – and therefore invest and build strong, healthy values into our families for the generations to come.
Heavenly Father, we long for our marriages and families to showcase Your love and glory to a lost and broken world. Father, help us to build our families on Your original design and structure. By being Your ambassadors, we want to wrap our communities in love, life and hope. May that provide a cornerstone for flourishing societies and nations. All for Your glory!
** Today’s WRAP is with special thanks to: Natalie Mill; Esté Geldenhuys; Heinz Oldewage; Hantie Carroll; Anna-Marie Francisco; Estell Brink; Marisa Badenhorst; Annalien Prinsloo; Ammeri Marx; Marinda Prinsloo; Jackie Arndt; Elriëtte Henning; Lizelle Uys; Estee Meintjes; Jen de Koker; Lizelle Steenkamp; Yvonne Grobbelaar; Charmaine Oosthuizen; and Ancois Wainwright.