There were two institutions established before the fall of humanity in this world. The Sabbath and marriage were both given as gifts from God for the pleasure, the benefit and continuation of the human race. Both of these institutions were to last for ever, but since the fall of humanity, both of these institutions have been hammered, with every attempt of the enemy to destroy them.
This age we currently live in, is a fast age. For my childhood years at primary school, I don't really recall any single parent families. Perhaps some families were not functioning well, but still a complete family. By the time I reached secondary school, one of my school friends, had his parents break up. Unheard of! Then news of others started to come to our ears, and from those early 1970's onward, the family has been drastically attacked, with devastating results.
This editorial will focus on the family unit, offering Godly advice to steer the family in the right direction, bringing harmony, peace and spiritual blessings to the home. Homes ordered and well run on God's principles, will affect the church, the community and eventually the nation.
One may wonder why we start here on such a rather unpleasant topic of secret vice/masterbation. The reason being, if debasing practices are encouraged and maintained, it weakens the mental, physical, spiritual and moral sensibilities. This results in a flow-on effect to a contaminated view of the opposite gender, resulting in a very surface relationship built on the principle of physical attraction and lust, not on character and moral worth. If a relationship continues on to a courtship and marriage, it all too often has disastrous results of fighting and break-ups, because the beginning was based on a wrong and corrupt foundation.
On the other hand, if life at a young age is kept pure, there will be natural development in the tender young years into the teen years, when the body needs all the resources is needs. There will be no guilt, remorse or corruption to the mental, physical, spiritual and moral faculties. This will allow for the young life to make choices for their future life on Godly moral grounds and judge their life partner on character for life long satisfaction and deep convicting love, rather than allowing the human passions with short time satisfaction and lustful fulfilment.
There has never been a lot written on the subject. In today's society, it will not have wide publicity, because it is even encouraged in many circles as healthy and invigorating, but enough is found in both inspiration and science to confirm otherwise. Secret vice is identified as being a curse to humanity, both young and mature.
Finding True Friendship
In those tender young years, friendships begin to develop. Young ones need to be well grounded in their morals and standards as they stretch their wings out into society. Friends made in those young years, can have a massive influence for future life.
The real danger comes in those adolescent years. When a child has been brought up with Christian principles, the devil really delights in gathering that young person in his grip, luring them away from God, getting tied up with the wrong company, even to a young man meeting a young woman, then marrying out of Godly principles.
As the years roll by and children come along, often the parent who has had a Christian foundation sees the need to offer their children morals and want's to come back to the message they know, but their unbelieving spouse doesn't want a bar of it. That can be a recipe for disaster and trauma in the home of varying degrees. And it can often be linked back to the making of friends in those early years.
If Godly morals and principles are upheld, then good friends will be chosen with thought and the life can remain on a much higher level of purity, free from a load of guilt. Then when a lifetime partner is found and chosen, it is much higher probability that they are chosen for their moral character rather than their physical attraction.
This brings us to the next step to be addressed. In the growing years of young adulthood, the serious choice of a lifetime partner is a natural step for many. Admittedly, not every young one seeks a lifetime mate, but many do. Right choices made at this time can bring the rest of the years, progress, pleasure, learning, all wrapped up in deep and satisfying love together. Yes, it can happen and I can personally testify to that.
There are simple steps that can be taken when friendship progresses into courtship. Go to the friend's home to see how they treat their parents, because truthfully, that's how they will treat their spouse if marriage is entered into.
There is the testimony of a pastor who had a very broken young woman sobbing out her story to him. Their relatively new marriage was about to fall apart. Her husband was cheating on her and very dishonest in their marriage. The pastor asked her if there were any signs in their courtship days. She revealed there were signs. When his parents counselled against him buying an item, he would go out and buy it against his parent's wishes and hide them at her place. The pastor wrote that somehow she thought a dishonest boyfriend would make an honest husband!
Look for signs and traits of character in your friend. Is the family constructive, do they work well together, or on their own? Are they sensible with finances, making frugal choices, saving money? While they don't have to be great business entrepreneurs, making an abundance of money, to feed and sustain a high-flying life, they do need to be conscious of how they spend the well-earned dollar that is brought into the home.
So parents, think through how you can guide and help your children that are budding into their adulthood to make sound choices that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Help them to choose good marriage partners.
In regards to finances, it is so important for parents to educate their children to save their money, even from a young age, but more so if a marriage is even thought of. A young man, if he has a real genuine heart for his future, especially with a wife, needs to be able to consider offering a home for his wife, when their marriage takes place.
The natural progression from the courtship is to progress towards a commitment for marriage. This does not mean anyone owns anyone, but it is a time to prepare for the marriage day. To become engaged does not mean marriage. This is not yet the time to let emotions go completely to lead to intimacy. Intimacy is only in marriage if working on God's plans. This does not mean it deprives anyone of potential happiness. God just wants the young couple to progress in His ordained way to bring a most fulfilling life of love and ultimate happiness.
Engagement is a time to realise that all other potential prospects for friendship, courtship and marriage are out. Both need to start realising their commitment to each other and plan towards that end. It is a time to start looking at establishing a home for when the marriage takes place. Every young man should want to secure and establish a home for his bride. Security is one very important ingredient for a new wife.
Both parties now need to concentrate on saving every dollar to put towards their future home and its contents. There will always be unexpected expenses come upon every couple who is preparing for marriage. Even just for the marriage ceremony alone, there will be extra costs that arise unexpectedly for the couple, even if other family members cover the wedding costs. Rest assured, there will always be unexpected needs when settling into a home after the marriage as well. If the spending is wise in the early years of life, that will continue into marriage. Now is the time to settle that with each other. It doesn't work well if one has been trained to be a saver and practices that, while the other has had loose reign on money and become a spender!
Then a big day arrives. There is a tremendous build-up for this wonderful day. If the Biblical principles and morals have been upheld through the friendship and courtship, there is great reward for the wedding day. It has strong meaning to both and to the affected families.
Those two young ones are now committing to each other for the rest of their lives. The most solemn and important part of the day isn't the dress or the cake, but it is the taking of the vows. These are a lifetime commitment to each other. Those vows should never be forced upon either one of the couple from family or anyone else. They should be taken with a heart of sincerity and love for each other.
This commitment made, will bring big changes in the life of both husband and wife. From a childhood and early adulthood of only having to look after oneself, now one has to look out for the other, consider the new spouse in all decisions, how it will affect the home and finances. The first twelve months will certainly bring some challenges in regards to how to share the workload and responsibilities. If both parties are willing and prepared to swallow their pride and self-centredness, then a marriage can begin to settle into a pattern where one will complement the other.
As a young couple progresses in making their home, make sure both keep an eye on the future, not to glorify and satisfy self, but to be prosperous together and keeping a sure anchor on a stable home. If a mortgage has been taken, concentrate on getting that paid back as soon as reasonably possible. We are counselled to “owe no man anything.” —Romans 13:8
Bringing Up Family
Huge changes come into the marriage when a little one is born. This brings a whole new dimension to a young couple. A new person is added to the home – and it will be around for quite a few years. For myself when our first baby arrived, I sensed a greater responsibility than I had ever before – and yes, a new dimension was added to my life. There is also a massive learning curve to accommodate this little one into the home, on a level different to adult company, friends of the same age, your spouse, a niece or nephew, or any other acquaintance. This new bundle of life is part of you and part of your spouse; you have built this one together by the miracle of God in humanity.
This should bring a husband and wife closer to each other. You initiated the little one, and God did the miracle of developing it in the womb. Now the responsibility rests back on the couple to care for it and develop that child to be of service to God, to family, to the community and to all of humanity.
As more children are added to the family, more dimensions are added, yes physically, but also experiential as well. Each child exhibits different character traits and needs to be handled in their own unique way. But above all, train them all up to be an example of the Christian home to the community around the home.
When children come into the home, it can be a time when parents really start to dig deeper in their own spiritual experience as well. Life takes on a new meaning as the realisation comes that these children are their responsibility and not the kindergarten, the school or the community. Here is a time of real danger if one has been brought up in a Christian home, left the message and the home, married outside the faith and now realise their need of Jesus Christ in the life, only to find resistance and even persecution from their spouse, bringing a division in the home. That is hard on children, being brought into this environment.
The primary focus is to offer a stable, Godly home right from the cradle. Instil in those children Godly principles. Be consistent with daily practices, be firm with boundaries and discipline. Eat together around the table; it is a great time to talk over daily events together. Difficulties, fears, deception and just out-of-character issues can be picked up at these times. These can be addressed either over the table, or may be more appropriate after the meal if it is about a more private matter.
In the family circle, it comes back full circle to start again here where we started in the beginning with secret vice. The next generation grow up and need to be guided in the right way. Now instead of being personally aware of the dangers of immorality and abuse, they that were young are now the parent with their own children, and it is at this time they need to carefully guard their own family of this crippling habit. Good Godly parenting will pass on good Godly traits to their children and it will strengthen the family bond. The children will then be encouraged to work on Godly principles, which will strengthen the church and bless the community.
There is one principle that we would wish to get across to all readers. Good homes where Jesus Christ is upheld in the family, produce good children in whom Jesus Christ is upheld in the heart, and the next generation continues that flow. “And showing mercy unto thousands of them who love me and keep my commandments.” —Exodus 20:6. A good home is where children want to be and feel welcome and safe, and is a home where visitors want to be and feel welcome and safe.
I want to reinforce the above principles from the Bible itself. Firstly, after marriage was initiated at the beginning of creation, marriage and intimacy have always been honourable. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.” —Hebrews 13:4
If that beautiful institution was initiated by God at creation, surely Jesus would have acknowledged it while on His mission here on earth. And that, He did. It was at a wedding in Cana that Jesus performed His first miracle.
“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called and His disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water pots... And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of he feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was : (but the servants which drew the water knew:) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom. And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse, but thou has kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and his disciples believed on Him.” — John 2:1-11
After the earthly mission of Jesus, marriage was still very permissible. Paul wrote much on the subject. “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” – I Corinthians 7:1-4
Then if marriage is permissible, it would follow that counsel would be given as to how the home should run - and there is counsel, very clear counsel.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” – Ephesians 5:22-33
The product of marriage, children, are added and we have clear counsel on how to attend to children, in the very next verses.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” — Ephesians 6:1-4
Paul again counseled the Colossians with the very same advice as he did the Ephesians. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” —Colossians 3:18-21
This study is by no means exhaustive, but if every family were to take the Bible as their foundation, backed up strongly with Spirit of Prophecy, and if they read that counsel and apply it, homes would shine out in their communities - and despite any ridicule or unsavoury actions against them, that community would surely see whatever that family has, works. There are definite principles by which a family can run their home and bring their children up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
If the family is struggling, it is never too late to ‘redeem the past’ and do all you can to lead them to Jesus Christ. The home is the best place to put a new foundation under them, and lead them upward in the building of their character.