We had the opportunity to hear some great preaching on "the family" tonight. It reinforced some important principles for me. In my opinion, Christians do not focus specifically on God's perfect design for our family. Many of us would agree that our societies are moving further and further away from God. There is an increasing acceptance of sin. Things that were completely unacceptable, even when I was young, are now deemed appropriate by "the world's" standards. It is more important now than ever that Christians learn, understand, and share absolute truth.
My first thought is to consider what has allowed our great nation to separate so far from God's way. Obviously, Satan desires our communities to drift from The Lord, but what have we done(or failed to do) that allowed this downward spiral in America. It starts in our families. We can blame our sometimes luke-warm churches, but it really starts with the family. After all, it is not our Pastor's responsibility to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of The Lord. He may reinforce, but it starts and finishes in the home. To narrow down even more, it starts with the fathers. It is very unlikely for a home with an absent or backslid father to produce children who end up in the center of God's will. It is difficult enough to live right when both parents work to please God, but subtract the leader who is Biblically charged to lead, and you have a recipe for disaster. Look no further than the failing family. I think there are many reasons fathers fail. Most are rooted in pride and selfishness. The modern dad has to have his time, his hobbies, his career, ect. I have heard someone joke that a man that is a very good golfer is likely lacking in other areas of his life. There is probably much truth in this. I have worked with guys who neglect their family in a heartbeat to work any extra hours or to advance in the workplace. I know others who retired and within a few months they are begging to return to work. As dads, we can sometime try to do right with the wrong motivation. We naturally want to be providers. It is when we stray from God's perfect blueprint that we fail. Alot of fathers sit back and allow the wife to fill their role. We cannot expect God's blessing when we stray from His plan. God's way is the best way.
Secondly, I wonder why we don't identify this as the main problem. We try to fix this root issue in reverse. There are ladies conferences, youth groups, and children's programs. Our wives know how to fellowship with each other. They communicate with one another and build each other up. Our kids go to a distraction free camp and make countless decisions in obedience to God's will. Only to come home and sadly "get over it" due to a lack of reinforcement in the home. We focus very little on the fathers. God is clearly capable of anything. He can perform a miracle within any situation and sometimes our homes are already broken. We can't change what has already taken place. We have to bloom where we are right now. For the homes where a father is still present, an awesome responsibility awaits.
Our world is a mess because our families are a mess. Our families are a mess because our fathers are a mess. I can't imagine our country will turn back to God until the designed family leaders humble themselves and fill their prescribed role. We need more preaching on the family. We need Godly men to spend time together for edification and encouragement. Young Christian fathers need to be discipled. The family is important to God and He will honor our commitment to it.