FAMILY: Christian priorities in life. Biblical list of priorities in life of main and most important ones. Have you ever wondered what shall be the priorities in life of your family? Do you ever feel like the relationship priorities within your own family seem a little demanding? For example, children taking up most of your time or your church leaders filling the church calendar with many weekly events that you are expected to attend?
This article will take you through the main and most important priorities that should apply to Christian family unit in line with the principles of God.
Christian family concept
A family is a group of individuals who are related together through birth, adoption or marriage and show commitment one to another in a spiritual and physical union throughout their natural life.
Families are indeed initiated by God. His intention and design of human race are to live in families. Even in Christianity, the Church is referred to as the family of God. Therefore, families are of great significance to God. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
A nuclear family can be described as a family unit that is made up of two married parents of the opposite sex and their children (biological or adopted) residing in the same household. In Western culture, a nuclear family was the norm.
However, today’s society has moved away from this model as well as the priorities order in our family from a biblical context. “So, God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28).
These days family consists of single parents, grandparents raising their grandchildren, married couples and empty nesters which contribute to a high percentage of Christian families that do not necessarily mirror the image in Genesis 1:27-28.
The Biblical List of priorities in life of Christian family
The main biblical priorities in life of a Christian family is God, spouse, children, mother and father, the rest of the family, fellow believers and the rest of the world. There are significant benefits when the order of priorities in our family is according the Word of God. Here is the list of priorities in life of most important life of Christian family:
- Love the Lord your God.
- Honour your spouse.
- Honour your father and your mother.
- The rest of the family.
- Brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Rest of the world.
Love the Lord your God
We are reminded of His word that we must first love the Lord our God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). God must come first in our families as He is the Creator of the family unit. Therefore, there are benefits to families that love the Lord; “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).
Honour your spouse
No one must take the place of God, and as such your spouse comes after God. “Husbands, in the same way, be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7). He is to love his wife just as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25); He must love his wife as their bodies because if he loves his wife, he loves himself (Ephesians 5:28). Equally, wives are to submit to their husbands, as they submit to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22) and show respect to her husband (Ephesians 5:33).
Submission is necessary for a family relationship between husband and wife because total submission will enable those who do not obey the word to be won without a word by the conduct of their wives (1 Peter 3:1). Therefore, the wife is second only to God in the priorities in life of her husband. Equally, the husband is second only to God in the priorities in life of his wife.
Parents have the responsibility to raise their children in a godly fashion, guiding them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Proverbs 22:6 states “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Children are also to obey their parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord (Colossians 3:20).
Honour your father and your mother
Honouring your father and your mother is the next in the priorities in life of the family. When children obey their parents, they would naturally respect others who have authority over them. Obedience to parents also brings God’s blessing for children as they obey His commands. In line with the principles of God, by honouring your father and mother as commanded by the Lord, you will see longer days, ‘and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you’ (Deuteronomy 5:16).
The rest of the family – extended family
The extended family is one that extends beyond the nuclear family and may include grandparents and other relatives. The extended family is next in the order of priorities after honoring your father and your mother. It is therefore important that your extended family live in line with the Word of God. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
Brothers and sisters in Christ
We are to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13) as we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Our actions must demonstrate the new commandment given by Jesus Christ “in that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). We are to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). Love for our fellow believers eliminates us from judging one another.
Rest of the world
Our final responsibility in the priorities in life of our family is to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus. We are given the great commission to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20). As we reach out to the rest of the world with the good news of salvation, Jesus said; “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
As God is the most important priority in life of our family, He will energize us to meet our relationship priorities within as well as outside of our families.