The Wonder of Christ – More than a Wall Plaque

Marriage and parenting are not human ideas. They are created
by God for his purposes. The institution of the family was not made primarily
for us. Does that sound illogical? Let me explain. Yes, things work best when
we follow God’s direction for family living. But the bigger picture is that first
and foremost, the institution of family exists for the glory of God. So we
should not claim marriage primarily for our own enjoyment and fulfillment and
then, secondarily, seek to honor God in marriage. No, marriage is designed to
be a human picture of Christ’s relationship to the church. Ephesians 5:21-33 is
not an afterthought. The idea of Christ and his bride, the church, came first; then
came the human institution of marriage to illustrate the first and greater
relationship.  The same progression is also
true for parenting. God the Father and God the Son were the first family
(Ephesians 3:15). The human counterpart came afterwards. Humans tend to start
with themselves; they see family and parenting belonging exclusively to
themselves. So, one can parent the way one wants to. Christians must avoid this
flawed notion. Instead, see that children are a blessing, not because they are wonderful
all the time (which they are not), but because having children illustrates for
us the divine pattern of Father and Son.

Consider the great advantage of viewing parenting in this
light. Children are a part of the family 
in order for the family to reflect (on a human level) the familial
structure that existed in the Godhead before time began. It is an awesome
privilege to have children—you have the opportunity to reflect the glory of God
in all that you do. That is why it is important to rely on Scripture as the
rule of faith and practice in raising your children. Nothing except Scripture
can impart the wisdom of God about how families should interact. Psychological
insights that do not take into account the divine order cannot offer wisdom
about parenting. God’s Word is not just one of the ways to understand parenting—it
is the only way that takes into account the way families were made.

Thus, you can trust God to provide you with the direction and
power you need. Yes, parenting is challenging. But just listen to what the
apostle Paul prays that you may have as you pursue this and other tasks in the
Christian life:

… And I pray that you,
being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the
saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and
to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

 God wants you to
grasp the immense power that is available to you. You have nothing less than
the love of Christ to help you as you parent. It is his institution and not
yours. So, encouraging disciplined responses in your children is not simply a
matter of teaching obedience because it suits you; it is teaching them to obey
because that is how Jesus obeyed his father. Jesus obeyed his father for the
joy that was set before him, to bring honor to his Father's name. That is the goal
for your children as well.  Does this seem
overwhelming? That is why Paul prays that you will grasp how wide and long and
high and deep is the love of Christ. It is not a inspirational phrase for wall
plaque—it is the source of power for life as you live for his glory.


Shepherd Press