The family is a divine institution designed by God to meet man's needs. (Genesis 2:8-25) Society suffers when homes fail. Today's society is reaping the fruit of weak, ineffective, fractured and broken homes. From the beginning God's plan was for one MAN to be joined to one WOMAN for the duration of a lifetime. "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband." (Romans 7:2) Home and family are serious matters to both the Father and the Son. Jesus said, "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:6) It is within the home that the man and his wife find love, companionship and also satisfaction for sexual desires. (1 Corinthians 7:2-5) God intended children be brought into the world and be brought up in a family with a father and a mother. Today the home is under attack by the Devil. In our fight against Satan let's do what we can to save our families.


     Christian families are built on commitment. There must first be commitment of life to God by both the man and his wife (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Mark 16:16) There must also be a commitment to one another. It takes much commitment to the happiness and well being of other family members to build a strong, Christian home. You must give unselfishly of your time, your strength, your possessions and yourself to build strong homes. Selfishness is the enemy of commitment.


     Christian families are strengthened by our service to God. Christian families are always in attendance at the services of the church. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) Missing even one church service or one Bible class you could attend sends the message to your children that Christianity really is not so important. Prayer and Bible study also play a major role in building Christian families. Families must recognize that God is: (1) Eternal (Psalm 90:2), (2) All-powerful (Genesis 1:3), (3) Good (James 1:17), (4) Holy (1 Peter 1:16), and (5) Present everywhere. (Psalm 139) Strong, happy and successful families can never be built or strengthened without service to the one who established the first home - the Eternal God!


     Christian families are nurtured by appreciation for one another. The need to be appreciated is one of mankind's greatest needs. Husbands, wives and children all share this common need. Our goal should be to express appreciation to our spouses, children and parents. "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12) Expressing appreciation is simply the "Golden Rule" in action. It works!


     Christian families are maintained with kindness. Kindness is an essential quality for every Christian family. "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32) "Tenderhearted" is a key expression. A person who is gentle, warm, caring and understanding will build up their family. Husbands are especially admonished to avoid harshness. "Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them." (Colossians 3:19) Simple courtesy and tenderness are necessary for strong families.


          Christian families must: (1) Practice being friends, (2) Listen to each other, (3) Love one another, (4) Spend time together, (5) Have strong commitment to the family and to God, (6) Be kind and tenderhearted, (7) Forgive one another, (8) Appreciate each other, and (9) Help the other family members go to heaven. Strong families build strong churches. Are you a Christian? To become a Christian you must, hear the gospel of Christ (John 6:44-45), believe in Jesus (Acts 8:37), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized to wash away your sins. (Acts 22:16) After your baptism into Christ, be a follower of that which is good. Christ "gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14)

By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037