In today’s ravaged society, as the Scriptures are ignored, it is vital that Christian family life be encouraged. Believers must understand that spiritual life is not to be pursued only in the gatherings of the assembly. Where the Word of God is not taught and practiced in the family, the consequence is an unspiritual home which is then reflected in the assembly.
The poor spiritual condition of a home cannot be hidden; it is clearly seen among the saints. When the father does not pray in the home the family will see inconsistency when he prays publicly. Parents who ignore Scripture in the home will cause their children to wonder about the reality of Christian living, especially if the parents’ actions in the assembly meetings try to portray consistent obedience to the Word of God. Inconsistences will be noticed and the family may come to the conclusion that expressions of love for the world are more honest than spiritual pretense. “Better” they may argue “to honestly go in for the world, than to pretend to be a believer.” It is not easy to counter such an argument if the home has not been marked by a love for, and loving submission to, the Lord.
A well-ordered home, therefore, is essential for the development of Christian life, not only for children, but also for parents.
Paul, referring to his conduct when with the Thessalonians, states “But we were gentle among you, as a nurse cherisheth her children” (1Thes 2:17). The “nurse” is a nursing mother who displays loving gentleness as she deals with her child. When writing to Timothy, Paul reminds him that “the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men” (2Tim 2:24). In dealing with others in the assembly, therefore, we must have the same demeanor as a mother of a young child. We should be careful to treat them tenderly in order to ensure that all our dealings with the saints are aimed at promoting spiritual health and growth.
Paul’s assertion that he was “affectionately desirous” of them was the language of the nursery.
In the same letter Paul states that his behavior with them was “as a father doth his children” (2:11); he “exhorted and comforted and charged” every one of them. This is the second lesson on parenting that is valuable in our dealings with fellow believers. To exhort is to urge that a particular course be followed in the future; to comfort is to console in view of past events, and to charge is to bear witness to the truth of what has been said. As a father lovingly follows these parameters in the home, he will then consistently manifest, in the assembly, the same qualities and convictions.
We must not overlook the fact that how a father leads in the home has significance in the assembly. The importance of the order in the home is taken into account when there is the recognition of those who will exercise rule among the saints. In this way the home has been part of the necessary training for such a responsibility. Those who have unruly homes cannot be fitted for spiritual leadership.