Around this time of year the family becomes the focus for many films and commercials that are produced. The Hallmark movies and commercials especially stand out in my mind because majority of what they produce centers around the struggles of family and their desires to be together. When we watch movies or commercials like this it makes us feel good about the concept of families. But, when you start thinking about reality and how there are many families in our nation that are full of heartache and pain it makes you realize that a family can either be a source of joy or a great source of sorrow.


What makes the difference between these two? I believe the main reason families break down and cause sorrow is because they have failed to apply God’s concept of a family as described in the Bible. This is why I believe there are two different categories of families. There are families who do things there way and then there are families for the Lord. There is big difference between these two.


God’s Word gives us a great foundation on how to have a happy family life, but when we ignore His advice, this is what can lead to a downward spiral in the family.  However, when a family chooses to follow God’s pattern for a family, then they become a family for the Lord and they will be the type of family that will learn to overcome the difficulties in their lives together and overall they will be a happy family. Let’s look at some of these concepts that makes a family for the Lord.


There must be a good influence


Before we can be a family for the Lord we must realize the power of influence that we have over our family as parents because the spirit of the home will effect how our children live out their lives. It at this point that family either goes in the right or wrong direction. Every parent has an influence and that influence will either be bad or good.


Our children are like carbon copies of us because they will take what they learn from you and it will become the foundation of their lives. As a general rule if the parents are bad the children will become bad if they are good they will be good.


Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.


Now this doesn’t apply to every single instance because we have know children that came from bad parents and became very good people and also we have know children that have came from good parents and turned out evil. In fact we seen examples of this when we were studying the kings of Judah during the divided kingdoms. One king would be bad then their son would turn out good. So, there are exceptions to this rule, but in general good will produce good and bad will produce bad.


Listen to the following poem that points out the influence a parent has on their children.


You gave us our children for such a little while

To enjoy their tender youth and smiles

Infants, toddlers, children and teens

These years were so short it seems

Until they were full grown!


Yet, you gave us time to mould them strong for life

To teach them what is wrong and right

Laughter, problems, hugs and tears

Love aglow through the years

Until they were full grown!


One by one they went from parental nest

To build their own treasured homes

Marriage, laughter, problems to meet

And then the sound of little feet

Now that they are full grown!


Most parents can see how they are influencing their children on a daily basis. They can observe how they deal with certain situations and many times they will see that they will deal with them in the same way that you do. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard my girls use some of the phrases and comebacks that I have used over the years.


Some parents try their best not to be an influence on their kids at all because they don’t want them to be like them, but this is unavoidable because not matter how hard you try, you will always be influence to your children as Paul said,


Romans 14:7  For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.


This is especial true when it comes to our families. We need to realize just how powerful our influence is and how deeply it can impact our children and others. A preacher by the name of Batsell Baxter wrote the following to point out the power of influence in his own life.


“I remember several years ago, on a Sunday morning after I had preached a sermon, I came down from the pulpit, as my custom was, and sat on the front row while the Lord’s Supper was being served. There was a little boy of pre-school age on that front row, who inched over toward me until he sat very close beside me. Then, he leaned close to my ear and said, “I wish I was you.” Nobody ever said that before and nobody since. Just a little boy whose name I did not even know. I knew his family. I had seen him a few times, but I did not even know his name. But he had heard me preach about Christ and he had seen me stand in front of the congregation. It was my impact as a preacher, not as individual, that had impressed him so deeply. His statement left an imprint on me. I cannot afford to disappoint that little boy, just as you cannot afford to disappoint the people who look at you.” 


As you think about the power of influence, you need ask yourself the question as a parent, How faithful do I want my children to be to the church? How much do I want them to be interested in Christianity? Hopefully, as Christians parents we would want them to be very faithful to God and to be very interested about Christianity because it will make the difference between being a lukewarm Christians and faithful servant of God. Besides, the Bible makes it clear that as Christian parents we should be training our Children in the way of the Lord as Paul said in,


Ephesians 6:4…  Bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.


In order to influence your children to be faithful to God’s church and to have a great interest in things dealing with Christianity, you must be the example. Are you assembling with the saints as you should? If you are not and use any excuse you can to not go, think about what you are teaching your children about the church the Jesus purchased with His own blood. You are teaching them that it not really that important to assemble as long as you have some kind of excuse no matter how lame it may be.


If you only put on your Christian hat when you go to church and the rest of the time you live your life like a non-Christian, again you need to think about how you are influencing your children. They will think that Christianity is only something you do when assemble with saints, but outside the assembly its ok to live worldly.


This concept doesn’t just apply to the influence parents have on their children it also applies to the influence the husband has on the wife and the wife on the husband. It can be very difficult if a man and woman are not working together to get to heaven because if one wants to live worldly and doesn’t want to assemble with the saints this can influence the other mate and cause them to find it difficult to remain faithful. So, this means the ideal situation for there to be a family for the Lord all the family members need to have the same desire to serve God first in their lives. We must never underestimate the power of influence.  I want to end this point with the following quote:


“Influence never dies; every act, emotion, look and word makes influence tell for good or evil, happiness or woe, through the long future of eternity. The life of a faithful Christian …  is a guide to Paradise (Thos. Kempis).


There must be true worship


Another thing that is important in making a family for the Lord is our worship. True worship to God is vitally important for us to overcome influence of the World. When we think of worshiping God, we may only think of the times that we are assembled together and that it true worship, but the foundation of worship to God begins in our homes because this is where our children lean the true value of worshipping God.


Our children are watching us closely and they learn how important worshipping God is by watching us. Some parents may think they can fool their children into thinking they are more dedicated than they are, but you cannot full them because they see what you do a daily basis and they will know your true colors. You can tell them all day long how important God is and how important it is to serve Him faithfully, but until you live by what you teach, your words will have little impact because your actions speak louder than your words.


If you tell your children that its important that they read their Bibles, do you read yours? If tell them its important that they don’t lie to others, but are practicing this or do they see you lying to others? Do you tell them that they should attend every service possible and then they see you staying home time after time when you could go. We can’t expect our children to listen to us in these areas if we are playing the hypocrite and when we do this, we become just the Jewish rulers of Jesus’ time.


As Christian parents, we need to evaluate ourselves and reflect on how we are living our lives and make a conscientious decision that we are going do our best to raise our children in the Lord and be the best example that we can.


We need to have the attitude that Hannah had in the OT. She promised God that if He would give her son that she would give him back to Him. God granted her request and she took care of him the first few years of his life and was no doubt a great influence on him and then she dedicated him to the Lord and he grew to be a faithful servant of God. 


Being a good example for our children is absolutely necessary in establishing the importance of worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Once we teach our children this at home, then it becomes easier to teach them how to honor God in public worship. Parents should not wait until worship begins to prepare for worship. Instead, they should teach their children to be prepared beforehand because worshipping is something that should be our minds before we officially begin our worship service.


As Wilburt told me recently worshipping God is like skiing, when you get ready to ski down the side of a mountain you better have skiing on your mind before you push and go down the mountain and before you start worshipping God you should have it our mind before you begin.


When we worship together as family it also important that we teach our children to show reverence toward God. So, if they start acting up and causing problems, we need to discipline them, so they can understand that the worship assembly is not the time to be acting out because we are worshipping God. The sooner they learn to respect the worship assembly the sooner they will learn that bad behavior will not be tolerated in our worship assembly.


This is why is so important that we worship together as a family and encourage one another so we can be a family for the Lord.


There must be true love


Another important concept that we must have to be a family for the Lord is love. Love is the beautiful wrapping that includes all the virtues that makes up a Christian family. Since God is love 1 John 4:8 how could a family be called a family for the Lord without it.


When God blesses us with children He gives us the responsibility of developing and promoting love in that child. Try imagine that when we receive a new child it like God has given us a blank canvas where no picture has been painted. God hands us the paint brush and the paints and he wants us to paint a masterpiece of love.


This is our greatest challenge as parents because the more we paint love, the closer they are going to grow toward God. Each stroke of the brush that we make will add qualities they need to be successful in life now and forever.


The power of love in our families should not be underestimated. As one writer said,


“Love is the purification of the heart from self; it strengthens and ennobles the character, gives a higher motive  and a noble aim to every action of life, and makes both man and woman strong, noble, and courageous; and the power to love truly and devotedly is the nobles give with in which a human being can be endowed”


Love is not just some beautiful word to be defined. Instead, it is a way of life that is to be experienced. That is why Paul wrote what love will do, instead actually defining it in,


1 Corinthians 13:4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8  Love never fails.


Love will teach our children how to share with others and how horrible it is to be selfish. This is not an easy lesson to learn because most children become possessive of the things they have and the words my or mine become a strong part of their vocabulary. However, love will teach them a proper balance between self and sharing with others.


Of course Jesus is the greatest example we could show our kids about the importance of sharing with others because he was willing to give His life for us, so that we could become God’s Children. As John said,


John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 


Love will also teach our children to have good manners because the positive characteristics of love will promote them. Love will motivate a person to grow and bear the kind of fruit that will be pleasing to God. When we teach our children not to envy others, boast about ourselves, or to be rude, self-seeking or easily angered, surely we can see that our children are going to have good manners and will bear good fruit for the Lord. This is why love must be part of every Christian family.


Sometimes as we teach our children about love, they don’t always learn the lessons that they have been taught and maybe we even start to think that love has failed, but I can promise you it has not. Even when our children act out in childish way, the love that we have taught them is still the foundation of the lives because that love will always be there and even if they don’t always show it in their lives it plays a part in every decision that they make.


Sometimes people misjudge people and think they are selfish when they are not. For instance notice how the following story illustrates this:


A man once parked his car on a street. Up came a boy and looked it over. His eyes were wide with admiration of the beautiful car.


“Where did you get this car?” he asked. “My brother gave it to me,” replied the man. “My, I wish …” The man knew the boy was wishing that he had a new car like that. But the lad went on and finished the sentence surprisingly: “ I wish I could be a brother like your brother was, I have a crippled brother who cannot get out.  I would buy him a car like this.”


So remember, sooner or later when we teach our children about love as God describes in His Word, that love will shine through because love is unselfish.


In conclusion, if you want to be family for the Lord you must realize the influence that you have on your family and you need to be a family that worships together and loves one another as God words teaches and all of this begins in the home. I hope this lesson will cause you examine your own family life and if you see that you are not being the influence that you need to be, I hope that you will start making the changes today that will make your family a family for the Lord.