God's Blueprint For Commitment
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Psalms 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Hillary Clinton tells us, "It takes a village to raise a child." She goes on to stress that the Government needs to assume a broader roll in rearing children in our culture. That just is not right. Allow me to offer this quote --
Do you know who made that statement? President Bill Clinton. Though I seldom agree on family matters with President Clinton, I do agree with him on this quote, because it lines up with the Bibles teaching on child rearing. The parents, both parents, are responsible for rearing that child. What it takes to raise a child is a dad and a mom working together under the direction of the Lord!
Our nation is in trouble! One primary reason is because Americans have moved away from the biblical model of the family. Increasingly mothers are off working and dads are absent or playing hooky. Just where does that leave the kids? Who is training the kids? We should not have to be reminded that the family is the foundational building block of society. The family was the first institution established by God (Genesis 2:18-25; 1:27-28). For years no credible person would deny that. Politicians, whether republican or democrat, affirmed the importance of the family. And, they defined the family biblically (i.e. a male father, female mother united in the bond of marriage, procreating and rearing children). Let me offer an example. A number of years back Hubert Humphrey said in his address to the Smithsonian Institution --
"You begin with the family, which is the basic social institution of all civilization, and of all humanitythe family unit is as vital today as it was 200, 500, 1000, yea, 10,000 years ago. And I don't care how many TV sets or how many fast cars you have, or how many theaters, or how many museums, or how many cultural institutions you have unless you have the will to make the family unit an operating institution of love and understanding, of education and communication, of fellowship and sharing, then all of this is for naught Those of us who recognize this importance accept the responsibility for taking the steps that are necessary to preserve the family's moral foundation. And, we have no time to spare.
Let me ask you a question. Are you willing to accept the responsibility for taking the steps that are necessary to preserve the family's moral foundation?
STEPS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE THE FAMILY
The husband is the head of the wife and charged to rule his own house well (Eph. 5:23; 1 Tim 3:4), I am going to emphasize the role of the husband/father. But, the wife/mother has the same responsibility as well. My focus is going to be on commitment. You cannot have a strong family without commitment. Commitment is necessary to preserve the family.
Commit comes from the Latin word which means to bind together. When I think of commitment I think of a rope and Ecclesiastes 4:12 which says in part, "a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
I want to use the three fold cord to illustrate three essential commitments within the family.
Since it is God who instituted the family, it is only reasonable that He has a central part in family life. Commitment to God begins with Salvation. Three Bible passages need to be pointed out here
Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 1:12-13
When we commit ourselves to Christ, Christ commits himself to us. 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Not only do we need to commit our souls to Christ in Salvation, but we also need to commit ourselves to doing the will of God. Psalms 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
A husband and a father who is committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and to doing the will of God is walking in the light.(1 John 1:7). This brings great stability into marriage and family life. There is not the instability and fighting that results in double-mindedness, when the dad (or mom) vacillates between doing their own thing and doing the will of God (James 1:8; James 4:1-8).
Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
God created a wife to be a companion, completer, helper and friend. And once you have chosen the woman for your wife, marriage brings you into a life time commitment to her. Therefore, the second strand in the three fold cord of commitment is permanent commitment to your wife.
Have you ever really studied Matthew 19:3-10? Most of us are familiar with Matthew 19:6b What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. But Christ hits the "marital commitment" issue head on and tells it like it is. Lets look at this passage (read the passage). We are talking permanent commitment here.
I want to emphasize the disciples' conclusion in verse 10 -- "His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry." The point is, marriage is a lifetime commitment (Romans 7:2-3)! Now, when I speak of commitment I am not referring to some form of passive past commitment that was based on hormones and emotions. Rather, I am referring to the daily exercise of 1 Corinthians 13 love. I am referring to taking the time to get to know your wife and communicate with her (1 Peter 3:7-10). I am talking about building the kind of a relationship together so that you enjoy being together and that after years of marriage you are still ravished with her love (Proverbs 5:18-21).
This kind of relationship requires personal effort and investing time.
The final strand in the three fold cord is a commitment to your children. Look at Ephesians 6:4. Notice what the father is charged with in the context of child rearing. That is no accident! Fathers are to be active in the rearing of their children. Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
One of the things that your wife needs the most, if there are children still at home, is your consistent involvement in the instruction and discipline of those children. The Book of Proverbs is filled with a father's instruction to his children. I was at my son's home just last night for a "father's day meal." When we were done I helped him replace a water pump on his car. As we were working together, he looked at me and said, "thanks dad, for teaching me how to use tools and do things like this. You have saved me literally hundreds of dollars." I can tell you, those words were a blessing to me!
Men and women, our nation and our churches desperately need strong families. One key aspect of developing a strong family is COMMITMENT
Examine Your Commitments!
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