THE BLUEPRINT FOR A FLOURISHING FAMILY
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Psalm 128
Sunday 4th May 2014
As we commence this year’s Family Convention series, I want to encourage you to put into practice the lessons and instructions you will learn from this year’s messages, so that you can experience a change in your present circumstances.
Today’s message titled ‘A Blueprint For A Flourishing Family’ is dedicated to building and nourishing our families. Just as you need a blueprint or a plan to successfully build a house, so in the same vein you need one to build a flourishing home. A flourishing home doesn’t just happen, it must be strategically built. As vital as the structure of a house is to its stability, much more important are the relationships within its walls. And even though we believe and agree that God has promised us this year that our homes will flourish, we still all have a part to play to bring this promise to fruition.
So firstly, the family is designed by God to provide a cure for all social, psychological, emotional and spiritual ills in our society. A flourishing family produces a flourishing nation; the success of any nation could be traced back to the successes of her families, and equally the failure of a nation can be traced back to the problems in her families. So, if a nation is full of families that are chaotic and disorderly, without a doubt that nation cannot prosper. Some of the problems and social ills in our nation today, such as gun and knife crimes and the resulting jail terms can be traced back to those youngsters in unstable families, who became bitter and angry towards an absent father or mother. It cannot be overstated then, that a flourishing family is key to a healthy and productive nation.
So here are four fundamental truths about the family:
(a) The family is the foundational unit for procreation: The definition of a family according to the bible is the union of a man and a woman in marriage according to God’s will, and it’s within this context that children should be raised. The bible forbids same-sex marriage, and we must speak the truth on this subject, despite the controversies that it generates in our society today. I am reminded of the quote from Edmund Burke. ‘All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent’ and ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’. It must be stated that the adoption of a child into a same-sex union simply complicates the matter and confuses the child eventually. The truth remains, that this is simply not a family.
(b) The family is the prototype of the society: When God created the family, he created a small society. The family in a home – father, mother and children are a small society. Whatever affects the small society will eventually spill over to affect the bigger one. In other words, if you want to know what a society looks like, then simply study the family. You cannot produce a nation that is better than the qualities of families within its confines. Most of the troubles within a nation can be traced back to the troubles within her homes – as goes the families, goes the nation. Is it not ridiculous that the authorities of a nation spend a lot of time fighting corruption, and can’t be bothered to pay attention to the families it consists of? Everything in our society is influenced directly or indirectly by the families within the society. Your family shapes you, and you subsequently shape your world. The godly and flourishing family is the foundation upon which God wants to influence the society.
A home is a place where vital instructions are received, and a young child is prepared for the world. A child who has not practiced being a champion at home cannot be a champion in society; hence a disobedient or unruly child at home will find it difficult to flourish outside the home. It is imperative therefore that a youngster receives and imbibes those instructions being given at home to prepare him/her for the future. Moses, Samuel, David and Daniel are good examples of biblical characters who imbibed the good home training they were given and were not influenced in later years by external peer pressure. Each child must be confident in who they are and what they’ve been taught from home to flourish.
(c) The destruction of a family is the destruction of a society: There is such a continuous wave of attack from the enemy against the family because he is aware of what is at stake. Hence, as fathers and mothers, we must pay attention and work together to maintain peace in our families. Ultimately, our lives are not about us, it is about the bigger society and the future generations. As a couple, you’ve been called together to influence your world, so much so that when you or your children leave home to interact with the world, you take the ‘home culture and values’ with you. Your viewpoint on some issues will shape how your child makes decisions when he is all by himself later on in life.
Whenever there are conflicts in the home, the devil’s greatest intention is to ultimately paralyze the society with it.
(d) God’s plan for you is to have a happy, prosperous and flourishing family: His plan for you is to have a strong, healthy and thriving home. You were never designed to have an average life. Right from the Garden of Eden, when He brought man and woman together, He proclaimed ‘Be fruitful (flourish), multiply and replenish the earth with your kind’ (Genesis 1:28).
Now if God’s plan for you is to have a flourishing family, our goal during this convention is to find out what this entails and work on attaining this. Ultimately, when we flourish we bring glory to God (John 15:8).
From our foundation scripture in Psalm 128, the writer of this Psalm listed the blessings and benefits, a man that fears the Lord enjoys: a fruitful, flourishing and productive wife, healthy and vigorous children and grandchildren around the table, the prosperity of his community (Jerusalem) and a peaceful nation. Such is the immensity of the potential influence that men carry, if they can put God first and get their priorities right. Men are to take the lead in the home (not the women) as the head of the family. Again, so as goes the man, so goes the family.
This scripture allude to the fact that the state and success of a family, the community and the nation is determined by a man’s willingness to fear and reverence God. So, when a man fears God, the family, community and nation becomes better, but if the men disregard God, the converse becomes a reality. Remember that Noah’s stance and righteousness prompted God to preserve him and his family in Genesis 6. I am reminded of John Maxwell’s quote ‘Everything rises and falls on leadership’.
So today I would like to address the men: I call you to honour and serve the Lord, because in order to experience and enjoy the blessings of a flourishing family life, we’ve got to make this a priority. I call you to rise up and build your homes, community and nation to God’s glory. Psalm 127:1 emphasizes this truth: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, the work of the builders is wasted’ (NLT). God must be the designer and builder of your house, as this scripture says. The word Hebrew word for house ‘Bayith’ means a home, a family or a household.
Down the ages, men have struggled to build homes and raise families without consideration to God; and the result is evident for all to see, with the sorry state of our world today. The idea of family or home originated from God; no philosophy, psychology or any systems of the world will produce a flourishing or sustainable home. We must remember that the family is not about any of us, it’s all about the global plans of God.
As goes the men, so goes the home; they are the priests and kings over their homes and these are the reasons why the devil is after men in every home. And if the home is not secure, our communities and nation are in danger of all kinds of social ill – Immorality, gambling, drugs, alcohol, pornography and addictions to name just a few.
If men disregard their role in the home, then they stand the danger of being reprimanded by God. The sobering judgment from God for disobedience as recorded in Numbers 14:18-19 reads: 'The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.'
To walk in the way of the Lord, here are four points to live by:
1. Know the ways of the Lord.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
3. Make a decision to walk in the way of the Lord.
4. Build accountability around you.
As I round up, let me share with you an illustration from Proverbs 22:6 that will bring this concept to life. ‘Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. [AMP]
To train is to ‘teach and form, to educate, to discipline, to tame, and instruct. It also means to lead or direct, to draw along, to drag a connected line of cars or carriages. The role of the father is to develop culture, values, morals, principles, beliefs and convictions by training the children. Your home should be a place of training, refuge, validation, celebration, strength, discovery of identity and uniqueness, love, victory, success, nurture, peace and growth.
So which of these scenarios relate to your family as you train your children?
1. Scenario 1 - Father leading the family wrongly – dragging and pulling them wherever he goes, the family goes, whatever he does the family does or,
2. Scenario 2 - Mother Pushing from the rear
3. Scenario 3 - Mother pulling from the front – ahead of the father
4. Scenario 4 – The ideal, God-led scenario of the father leading, with the mother directly behind to encourage, support and inspire?
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