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In this three-part series devoted to family life, we’re going to look at what it means to be a family man or woman by asking the question: “When it comes to my time and dedication, what does my life look like?”
This week, we’ll start by taking a look at our responsibility to God with respect to how we use our time. Then we’ll look at our responsibilities to our spouse, and finally, our children. So, let’s take a look!
Family time – one of the most beloved phrases of all time. It’s a phrase that spans all generations, and a theme that stands the test of time while withstanding controversy. It identifies the place of every man or woman’s hidden treasure. It is the bedrock of the mountain of success. The cornerstone of God’s Kingdom. It’s no wonder then that Satan, the one who comes to kill and destroy, makes his money with a ‘sledge hammer’ so to speak!
He does all he can do to destroy our time and distract us from our first and true priorities; God and family.
Spending time with family is a key part of the one God-ordained institution (the family) that breeds success for not only families of the human race, but also the family of God. For this reason we are to pursue it when it is absent, protect it when we have it, and find it when it is lost! Time itself is precious. And because time spent with family is only a portion OF time, it is that much more precious. We are then responsible for what we do with our time, and God will hold us accountable for what we do with our time.
Paul made it clear when he said…
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
- 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 ESV
This is a BIG statement that says everything we do matters to God, and everything we do in the body while on earth is recorded. In other words, when we see God as the One we’re responsible to for EVERYTHING, we prioritize Him above all. Therefore, to be godly leaders in our families, we must be thoroughly in tune with God’s will and allow all our activities to be directed by Him.
To do so, we must realize that God is the true source of our sustenance and be intentional to spend our time there; at the source, with the source. This is the fellowship that God wanted with Adam, but Adam missed it. He didn’t choose fellowship but instead heeded the deception of the serpent. The effects of Adam’s sin and disobedience are still being felt today, but we have a new hope. I can only imagine how beautiful the Tree of Life must have been in the Garden of Eden, and because of His sacrifice for us, Jesus is now our Tree of Life that we are to feed on daily. This is where life begins, and when we are connected to the source, everything else flows outward from that source. In other words, the activities we engage in, the relationships we foster, the words we speak – everything about our lives – flows from the life Jesus gives.
Although the world has changed vastly since the days when Christ walked the earth as a man, there are two things that haven’t – human nature and the number of hours in a day. We are still sons of Adam who have responsibilities to God, our family, and our neighbors. Therefore, the “lack of time” excuse is actually a problem with prioritization. In fact, with all our modern technology like cars, running water, and computers, we could argue that we have more time than ever. So we’re really without good excuse today! When we look at the Scriptures we often see that the people God used in mighty ways spent a great deal of time with Him despite things we would now consider time killers and inconveniences.
David went before the Lord seven times a day (Psalms 119:164), Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10) and in the book of John alone, we see an amazing 134 references to Jesus’ daily prayer life and close relationship with His heavenly Father. This kind of commitment to God is still attainable today!
So, HOW do we balance the other obligations?
Looking at these examples from Scripture, a key element to remember is that every individual possessed their own unique set of family and personal obligations, but each kept a healthy relationship with God.
As Christians, we have a juggling act between family, work, sleep, corporate worship, etc. Based on the true nature of an activity, some of the things we label as priorities are often actually optional. In some instances activities like this are important to life but not necessary at the moment. The trash needs taken out, but maybe it can wait. “I need to go to the gym…” Maybe you do, but how much time are you spending there? How about this one… “I need to see my sweetheart.” Well, I’ll just say that some things are needs while others are wants, and depending on what’s important to us, we’ll put them in their proper place and seek a healthy balance.
There is no set way or one-size-fits-all when it comes to the how we seek to balance our obligations, but despite what life throws at us, we know that God should always be first. As the Word commands, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). If we miss our daily provision of time with God, we become malnourished and forfeit true fellowship with Him. Jesus simplified our priorities for us when He said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). To sum things up, the key thing to remember is that when we put God first, everything else, including how we use our time with family, flows outward.