THE GIFT OF FAMILY
Did you know that researchers have found that married people have a better life? Yes, it’s true! Many may find holes in the data to support their own experience. However, if you are married, there is a strong likelihood that you will live a longer life, have a better financial picture, and enjoy better mental health and safety than those who are not married.
From my perspective, this data supports God’s perfect plan all along. Today’s gift from Ephesians is the gift of family.
Here’s how the Bible describes the key relationship between wives and husbands, beginning in Ephesians 5:21:
“Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So, just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church — a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor — since they’re already “one” in marriage.” (Ephesians 5:21-28, MSG).
Paul’s definition of marriage is how God would like it to be for us. That’s the way it can be. It’s not just a pipe dream or an awesome goal. It can be that way with the Holy Spirit in us and encouraging us daily.
A good marriage takes a lot of hard work — a good family life, even more work. Understandably, you may feel like you’ve put out all the hard work you can muster at your job and that there isn’t enough time or energy left to make your marriage work as God intended.
Someone once said marriage is not a 50-50 proposition in that each spouse does 50% of the work. No, marriage is a 100-100 proposition — both the husband and the wife are to pour 100% of their energies into making it work.
One could ramble on about what makes a good marriage and what makes a bad marriage, citing wedding vows, divorce statistics, and therapist recommendations. It’s not that simple. Life is complex. It is complicated as a single adult. It’s more challenging as a couple, and it gets really interesting when that couple adds some children into that life. What a gift your family can be! What a joy our children are! Especially when we take the time to see them as God does.
Billy Graham’s parenting advice:
“Children will invariably talk, eat, walk, think, respond, and act like their parents. Give them a target to shoot at. Give them a goal to work toward. Give them a pattern that they can see clearly, and you give them something that gold and silver cannot buy.”
Marriage and family are great gifts! Make a little time this season to read Ephesians 5:22 through 6:4 and ponder how you can be a better parent, or a better son or daughter, in your family. Ask God to give you His grace and eyes to see your family members as He does. He sees potential. He sees love. He sees belonging. He sees hope. Speak a blessing over your children and your spouse. Celebrate your family! That is a wonderful gift!
Father God, thank you for the gift of my family. Help me see the members of my family the way you do. Use me to bring your peace, grace, and love to my family this season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This advent devotional can be found on the YouVersion Bible App here.