The 1950’s left much to be desired; from poodle skirts and pearls, to rolled pants and perfectly coifed hair. All seemed innocent in the world as Mom served the nightly meal, while Dad relaxed with a paper and pipe.
Some 60 years later, most families infrequently gather around the nightly table, unless a major holiday schedules the event for us. Time flies as overlapping appointments fill the American calendar, but something darker has occurred over the last half-decade other than overbooked agendas. A mysterious evil increasingly corrupts our lives and is trickling down to our children.
Focus on the Family founder and chairman, Dr. Dobson, stated the biggest obstacle facing the family today is, “over-commitment; time pressure. There is nothing that will destroy family life more insidiously than hectic schedules and busy lives, where spouses are too exhausted to communicate, too worn out to have sex, too fatigued to talk to the kids. That frantic lifestyle is just as destructive as one involving outbroken sin. If Satan can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy, and that’s just about the same thing.”
Dobson challenged parents further by explaining, “Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.”
The salvation of this next generation depends on parents raising up strong disciples. This may explain why they are the enemy’s target of choice. In order to get to our loved ones, though, Satan must break through the first line of defense: parents.
Let’s look at five steps to creating the intentional family.
1. Surrender to God
The Apostle Paul tells us that in our flesh dwells no good thing (Romans 7:18). The only way to tap into God’s righteousness is through time alone with Him. Such a simple task, yet this important act gets pushed further down the schedule as life hits us with the sound of the alarm. Five minutes of Christ in the morning invites the Holy Spirit to linger in our hearts and on our minds.
Another good reason to seek Him first? If we desire our children to be Bible lovers, then we as parents need to love the Bible ourselves. God says when we pray or read the Word or whatever we do in secret will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:6). With this small sacrifice of time comes a reward of passing down a spiritual inheritance to our sons and daughters. They see; when they peek their heads around the corner, they catch us enjoying time with the Father. And one day, that habit may be passed along generationally.
2. Be one in Spirit
Children can sniff out an argument a mile away. They can also sense when parents are living in harmony. “Your marriage moves toward a state of isolation,” said Dennis Rainey, co-host of Family Life Today. “Unless you lovingly and energetically nurture your marriage, you will begin to drift away from your mate.” Studies show children feel more secure when all is well between Mom and Dad; when we interact, laugh and choose to spend time with one another.
Too often, though, we succumb to the challenges of life. Dr. Rob Reinow, founder of Visionary Ministries theorized, “As the man goes, so goes the marriage. As the marriage goes, so goes the family. As the family goes, so goes the local church. As the local church goes, so goes the nation and the Great Commission. So if you’re Satan and you want nations and you want (to hinder) the Great Commission, (you) want churches, where do you target your firepower? On men and on marriages. You break those foundations; you get all the rest of the stuff thrown in.”
With the adversary poised, tracking his targets, it is critical that parents are unified in spirit, grounded in the Word and protecting the one thing God desires: godly offspring (Malachi 2:15).
3. Prep Them for Eternity
New York Times bestselling author and one of America’s most influential spiritual leaders, Dr. Rick Warren wrote in The Purpose Driven Life, “Living to create an earthly legacy is a short-sighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy. You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.”