Family is not everything. It is an unpopular message, but it is truth. God first created the family unit. In the Garden, God sanctioned the first marriage and then asked them to multiply and have children. Family is close to the heart of God, and it was priority for him to introduce it first to the world. Thus we know that we too should make family priority. We must understand that family is huge part of the way God expands His will throughout the earth. Family is good. Family is wonderful.
BUT… even something that is good can become an idol.
An idol is any misplaced desire in reference to God. God said, “you shall have no other gods before me.” If we put family before God, then we have messed up his system. Likewise, when family becomes everything to the neglect of his church, we ignore another system that God created to expand His will in the world. Family is great, but family is not enough. God wants us also to be a part of another family, his church family.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrew 10:24-25)
Church involvement connects us to a family beyond our family. This community is an extension of those we live with. They are people we are also required to “do life” with and love unconditionally. They keep us accountable. They walk with us through the tough times in life. They celebrate with us through the victories. Our families need the church family. When we connect with other families, we grow.
Sadly, in our individualistic culture, we do not think we need to belong to anything. We still value marriage and family because we see the enjoyable benefits, like love. But, most of us still struggle seeing the value of the church. Let’s see for a minute. How is church valuable specifically to our own marriages and families?
What do most young marrieds do? They isolate. What should young marrieds do? Surround themselves with what will become life long friends.
When people are hurting in their marriage, what do they do? They suffer in private. What should hurting couples do? Go to their church body for prayer, wisdom and support in pursuit of reconciliation.
When a husband needs advice, what does he do? He tries to figure it out on his own, or he asks a colleague. What should he do? Have a group of close male friends who are Godly and ready to help him pursue spiritual leadership.
When a wife feels neglected, what does she do? She talks to friends who are unhappy in their marriage or who are happy in their divorces, friends who will easily bash her husband. What should she do? Have a select few spiritually mature friends who believe in her marriage that she can go seek true biblical wisdom from.
God made the family beautifully, but it is not everything. Because then, he made the church, a bigger family that gives support to all the issues that we deal with in our families. Every marriage needs a body of believers. Every family needs a place where they can authentically grow with others. If we make our relational family of all importance, then we are not in tune with God’s purpose for our spiritual family. The best families are amongst other families, living out their authentic faith with others and growing together.
If you don’t have a church you call home, start looking. When you find your church home, it will be worth it.