Spiritual Reformation of Family (Joshua 24:14-15) May 27, 2012
Family must become a channel for the greatest blessings. You may lose strength at work or grow tired and weary of studying at school, but when you go home and see your family you should be strengthened again (recharging site). Individuals who were used in each age all began from their families. Luther once said that home is the first school, and parents are the first teachers. A wise wife makes a successful husband, and a profound husband keeps cheering his wife. Therefore, home must be a place where you can receive three types of strength. First, you must receive physical strength (your home must be comfortable enough for you to rest), second, you must receive emotional strength (place where you and your family comfort, encourage, and hearten each other), but most importantly, your home must be able to supply spiritual strength. Even if the first two may be a little lacking, your home will work if the last condition is met. Joshua must have known this when he confessed in today’s passage, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Does this simply mean going to church every Sunday? Does this refer to a mediocre religious life? He said “but”. Joshua vowed to stand only before God, look only upon God, and live only for the glory of God. Even if you say just one word, it should be a strengthening and encouraging one. Because this does not happen in your family, you always complain and talk behind others’ backs at your work and even at church. When you really become able to say “only” (vow to stand before God, look upon God, and live for the glory of God alone) God will undoubtedly bless you. The Holy Spirit will undoubtedly work upon your life. The forces of Darkness will undoubtedly crumble and doors to important answers will open.
1. How important is the relationship between each individual member of a family and God? Look at the first couple of mankind, Adam and Eve. Your relationship with your spouse cannot be better when each of you are holding onto the covenant and enjoying your relationship with God. When Adam saw Eve, he serenaded her, “You are my bone of bones, flesh of flesh,” and they did not feel any shame although they were unclothed. But how did that change when a problem came to their relationship with God? They started resenting and blaming each other, and felt ashamed. Without God’s blessing, even a couple will only grow farther from each other.
(1) You must enjoy your relationship with God 24 hours a day. For every second of the day, try holding onto the fact that God is with you. Your family will live as much as you hold onto God’s covenant and enjoy Him. Do you think your children are heading toward corruption and destruction? Pray truthfully. There is no one who can pray for the children more sincerely than their parents would. When you go into true prayer, every problem of your family will become a blessing and evidence.
(2) Look how much Isaac was blessed in Gen.26. He received a hundredth-fold of blessings even during a famine. Even his enemies came to him and admitted, “You are blessed by the LORD” (verse 29). Of course it might have been because of his faith and the covenant he held onto. But God repeated something three times in verse 3, 5, and 24. “I will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws, for the sake of my servant Abraham.” It 2Tim.2:5, it is described that Timothy was someone formed by the faith of his mother and grandmother.
(3) Do problems, hardships, and conflicts never stop in your home and your family? Hold onto Christ 24 hours a day and fight against Darkness in a full scale. Satan is clearly working, but you and your family will perish together if you do not know this. However, if just one person understands this spiritual mystery, holds onto the covenant that Christ has finished all problems, and begins to fight the spiritual battle through prayer, the forces of Darkness will crumble.
a. The spiritual state of the parents, especially, will absolutely pass down to the children. When Priest Eli was spiritually devastated, his children went completely corrupt and astray. When King Saul was possessed by an evil spirit, all of his children went down along with him.
b. There is spiritual inheritance of curses that flows in every family. You must discover what it is and finish it off in your generation. It creates the same incomprehensible failures from generation to generation. Even your personality is a product of that inheritance. Your personality is not something you were born with. Some of it is your innate temperament, but the rest is formed in your upbringing which means whatever you have seen in your childhood could be a channel for Satan. Financial problems and even spiritual problems that often result in death are all part of this inheritance (e.g. most members of the family die at a young age, die of the same cancer, or die from the same accident).
2. There must be a covenant that your family is holding onto together.
(1) The proclamation Joshua made in today’s passage did not comprise only his position. He said, “But as for me and my household.” There must have been a time when his family came to an agreement and resolution together. That is why the time of family worship and forum is extremely important. Try this naturally in your everyday life.
(2) Have a forum with your husband or wife, parents and/or children, and brothers and/or sisters about what family you will form together.
a. You must confirm with one another that you have been chosen one family within Christ (meaning behind circumcision and infant baptism).
b. You must confirm with one another that you possess everything within Christ although it may seem as though you do not have anything. Your thoughts, actions, and life will be different from others’ when you live with this spiritual pride and self-esteem.
c. You must share the same vision of writing the history of a noble family of the Gospel for the sake of world evangelization. “Although we are lacking, we are challenging together holding onto the power of Christ.” You must resolve together and share this vision. Every time Hannah was sending off her son Samuel to the temple, she must have shared this vision with him. Paul must have shared this vision with Priscilla and Aquila as he evangelized together with them. When you do not have a clear future or a great vision, you keep on running into conflicts over trivial matters and cannot yield even the smallest things.
3. There are three important principles to educating your children.
(1) Teaching is not the first. You must inspire them. That is why you need spiritual strength before anything else. When you are spiritually strong, what you say to your children has strength and it inspires them. What is one thing parents can do for their children in a financially dire situation? “I am really sorry I cannot accommodate what other parents do, but we will pray for you as your parents with our lives on the line.” The power of the Gospel can pass on to others. A life of parent’s sincere prayer will absolutely pass on to the children.
(2) You must direct your children. God has a specific plan for everyone. You must help your children discover it, and whatever talent they may have you must help your children to use it for God’s desire, the world evangelization, and you must help them to live constantly thinking about conquering their fields. Failure is not a problem, but being lost with no direction is a problem. A parent who really prays can provide a direction for his children.
(3) You must also discipline together with your children. Would your children study when you tell them to while you are watching television? It is the same as a crab telling her kids to go straight while she is crawling sideways. Praying together, serving together, and studying together are the essence of “together”.
This world is full of darkness and never-ceasing hardships. But there are blessings reserved for the people of the covenant. It all depends on what kind of resolution one comes to. Joshua and his family came to that resolution today. When Jesus’ mother and brothers came, Jesus said, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Clearly those who asked this question were not in the same spiritual frequency as Jesus, but they all later became the leaders of the Early Church. I bless and hope that all families that have the covenant may undergo a spiritual reformation and be used to the greatest extent within God’s blessings and answers.