Every family is as unique as the individuals who make it up. We have no choice about the family in which we are born into, nor the influence that our family has on our early formation. God has a plan for each and every person and their life direction, and the family in which we are born is a part of God’s plan for shaping who we will eventually become. If we choose to be thankful for the positive traits that come from our families, and allow God to deal with the less helpful traits, then He will use these influences to shape us to become more like Him.
Read Ephesians 6:1-4. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?
1. Can you recognise influences or habits from your family of origin which shape your life now, either positively or negatively?
2. If there is no ideal family, how do we determine what ideal family behaviour looks like? Where do we get our expectations of family behaviour from?
3. Why is laughter and fun a good ‘health detector’ for our family? What can we do to increase this?
4. Read Ephesians 6:1-3. What is the outcome of honoring our parents? How can we do this? Why might this be difficult for some people?
5. Read Ephesians 6:4. How can we bring children up in the instruction of the Lord? What part does God and faith play in our family?
6. Read Psalm 90:12. From birth to age 18, there are 936 weeks that we have to influence our children. How can we prioritise the urgent versus the important things that we do during this time?
We are all part of an extended family of one form or another. For some people this is a source of great blessing in their lives, for other people these relationships may be a source of challenge. At times it can be both of these things! Take a moment now to give thanks to God for the family He has given to you. Prayerfully consider if there is some way that you can serve and actively demonstrate your love to your family this week. Commit to putting this into action.
Relationships like most things need to be maintained, they don’t automatically stay healthy. God gives us some guidelines to maintain health and connectedness. We are built for community and not for conflict. Often as families we can fight to get our own way, to assert our will or to force behaviour. When we do this we can damage the most important relationships in our lives. We must learn to fight for our family relationships.
Read 2 Samuel 18:28-33. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?
1. David did not prioritise his relationships with his kids. How does estrangement happen between parents and children?
2. We can often see or detect our own habits in our children. How do you deal with that?
3. How do we react as parents when our children make mistakes?
4. Absalom needed his Dad’s attention and care (2 Sam 14:23-24). Sometimes that deep need for relationships drives people to behave badly. How could this be handled differently?
5. Read 2 Sam 14:28-30. Absalom set Joab’s field on fire to get David’s attention. What drastic measures have you seen children take to get the attention of their parents?
6. Read 2 Sam 18:33. At Absalom’s death David was full of regret. What can you do to build healthy relationships now that will reduce future regret?
7. David was called a man after God’s own heart, yet he didn’t fight for the heart of his son. When have we put our position ahead of our relationships with our family? What was the outcome?
Take some time to brainstorm how, in a practical sense, we can fight for our children’s hearts. As parents. As extended family. As a community. Then identify one key concrete action you can take this week to invest in a child’s life. Gather around each other and pray for the wisdom, courage and boldness to step out.
Part Three – Domestic Abuse
Watch the full message here (select “Part 3”).
God is for families. When God designed family He designed it as a building block for society, a place where people both learn and experience community and love. Sometimes our experience of family is unhealthy and broken. God can transform our perspective of family, which Satan loves to influence, as we allow Him to give us His perspective. God makes the first move to speak with us, nudging us towards life and health. We need to be willing to go into battle for our family in the spiritual realm, and be intentionally praying for them.
Read Judges 6:11-13, 25-31. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?
1. To honour God, Gideon had to set things right in his own family first. How might misplaced priorities affect the health of your family?
2. In your family growing up, who was the most significant person who held the greatest influence on the family? What role can you take in this area in your family today?
3. God wants to heal any fractures in our families. How can we be a conduit for the Holy Spirit to enable this to happen?
4. Read Proverb 1:7. What is your understanding of the biblical term ‘Fear of the Lord’? What is the consequence when this is absent?
5. How do you feel about asking for the Favour of God for your family? Is this selfish?
6. We are called to speak the truth in love, especially with our family. Why is this sometimes difficult to do? Why do we not always get this right?
7. Read James 4:1-10. We are in a spiritual battle for our family. How can we resist the devil? What do we need to do to defend our family? What place does humility play in this?
Complacency is one of the most dangerous approaches that we can take when it comes to defending our family in the spiritual realm. Take a moment now to pray for protection and a blessing over your family. Ask God if there are any areas in your life that are giving Satan a foothold in your family. Take time this week to listen to God and deal with any areas that He shows you that need to be dealt with through His Holy Spirit.