Keeping God First and Family Concerns Secondary
Love in the Bible deals quite a bit with where you place your priorities; what is your chief motivating factor. The problem with idolizing the family, like idolizing anything which is good, is we begin to assign priority to it and expect fulfillment from it which only God can provide. As I walk with godly men who try to balance ministry and family and do both well, it is often the wife’s input which is going to turn the husbands head away from focusing on Jesus and get the husband to over prioritize the family.
What I mean by this is I have seen wives tell their husbands to get out of ministry when the pay will not support the lifestyle she has grown comfortable with. I have seen wives train their husbands with the reward of sex for following her family based plans. I have seen wives “protect” the family from suffering by convincing their husbands being around unchurched folks is unhealthy for the children. I have watched a wife convince her husband he was never supposed to be a pastor because she was uncomfortable with what God was calling them to do. I have listened to wives counsel their husbands, ” We must withdrawal from the community God sent us to reach for the good of the family.” The thought process which usually follows is the public school system is full of unsaved folks with different values so we must homeschool so the culture does not destroy our children. Sectarianism results and distancing from the World we are called to sacrificially seek and serve is forgotten and replaced by protecting the family from the harmful influence of the World.
I think of Rachael from Genesis 31:35 who deceives in order to conceal the family idols she is sitting on; if the family is an idol you will protect the “good” of the family as being of top importance and you will hide the truth of your idolatry and deceive those around you (usually starting with your husband) so your idolatry is not revealed. Rachael was trusting her own deceptive ingenuity and manipulation more than the power of the living God. Wives be careful, before the “needs” of the children you must honor your husband, and before your husband you must love your Lord. Look to Jesus first and you will bless your husband and allow him to lead the family even into difficult insecure situations as God leads.
The family unit is a good thing, homeschooling can be a good thing, raising our children Biblically well is a mandate for all parents. We must live in the tension of attempting to do what is best for our Earthly family as we constantly bow to God’s will for the advancement of His Kingdom and trust these are not two mutually exclusive areas of life. If we prioritize God’s Kingdom of being first importance we will also receive His blessing upon our family, but if we prioritize the family over God’s Kingdom we will lose the blessing of both. Your identity is as a child of God, your value comes from Christ; not performance. You do not have to be the perfect mom, wife, or house maker; being released from the oppression of the good allows you to serve the needs of the Great.
I often am told by families when they drop out of church life that they “always must do what is best for the family.” Just be sure the family you are speaking of is God’s Family. Oh what a joy it is when I find a man who has a wife who is confident in the saving power of Jesus and who has destroyed her idols; she is a blessing both at home and in Kingdom building.