As I write this, my family is snuggled into their afghans all around the living room. A frigid January wind is howling just outside the window and the weatherman says temperatures could drop to historic lows. I just stepped outside to check the conditions. Yep, it's brrrrr cold!
But you know what?
The weather outside might be frightful,
But in my home it's quite delightful!
The family flame gives a warming glow.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
In times like these, I am reminded of just how much I love my family. It can be a blizzard outside, but if we're together it's cozy warm inside.
As I look around the living room and watch my family's playful interaction, I understand why God placed such a high premium on the home. Just beyond my family is a dark window that frames the harsh, frozen conditions on the outside. Yet the picture in the foreground is completely the opposite. Smiles, serenity, harmony, and warmth dominate this side of the glass. Let it snow!
Moments like these always bring me to a greater appreciation for God's design. But it's a unique appreciation. It's an appreciation born more of a feeling than it is an intellectual conclusion. I know in my mind the logic of God's plan for the home, but in this instance I can actually feel the reason as it warms me. It's a relational warmth, a spiritual fireplace. It's like the glowing windows of a cottage in one of those winter paintings by Thomas Kinkade. It is felt before it is understood.
Cindy and I were married nine years before God blessed us with Bryson and then we waited ten more years before He gave us Gabriel. During those emotional years, we experienced two miscarriages and much heartache over the desire to have children. It is because of this heartache and many other convictions that we have such a strong passion to encourage parenthood. Other than spiritual blessings, the human ability to procreate may be the greatest gift God ever gave to His creation. Just as He entrusted the message of salvation into the hands of men, He has also entrusted us with the power to pass along life.
In Genesis 1:28, God told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” (NKJV) In Genesis 9:1, He repeated this command to Noah, his sons and their wives. In Psalm 127:3, God said that “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.” These, and many other passages, emphasize God’s timeless desire for His creation to experience family life.
Throughout time, God has used the physical family to define the spiritual realm. In Psalm 89:26, and many other places, God is referred to as a father. In Ephesians 3:15, God’s people are referred to as His family, in Romans 8:14 as his sons, and in I John 3:10 as His children. In John 14, Jesus comforts his followers by referring to Heaven as a huge house with many rooms that are being prepared for all of God’s children. Perhaps the most touching use of the physical family to define the spiritual family is the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. All through Scripture, the Holy Spirit has paralleled the spiritual family with the physical family to help us better understand the spirit world. Much about the spiritual realm is difficult for our human minds to conceive. These illustrations help us relate in a small way to God’s values.
Understanding that the physical family plays such an important role in defining spiritual principles, we can begin to see why God has placed such a heavy emphasis on parenthood, procreation, and family values. When the church fails to uphold God-centered family values, God’s illustration loses its impact. When Christians fail to set a proper example of God’s design for the roles of men and women in the home, the world has no illustration to draw them into their role in the spiritual family. When church leaders dilute the Divine condemnation of alternative life-styles, God’s picture of the spirit realm is smeared and distorted. God’s desire for us to “be fruitful and multiply” has much more importance than just physical reproduction. Family life defines the very principles of God's realm.
As the winter winds of a frigid immoral culture rage all around you, draw your family inside the will of God. Wrap them up in the warmth of home. Embrace the flame of family life. Make it real!
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