Summary: Third in a six-part series of living intentionally and not just letting life happen to you.
Living and Intentional Life: FAMILY
This week we will continue our series on Living an Intentional Life. Remember that the three key words in describing an intentional life are purpose, discipline and vision. Living intentionally means that we have an agenda for our own lives. It is not dictated by circumstances or other people. We make the decisions about how we will spend our time, energy and resources.
This morning, I want to talk about living intentionally in our family lives. The family is not a product of human ingenuity, it is an institution of God. As such, it holds a place of importance in life second only to our personal relationships with Jesus. If I wanted to depress you, I could run through a series of demoralizing statistics on the state of families in our country. However, that is not my intention. I want to focus on the fact that if we keep our priorities in order, it is possible to have happy, healthy family life. Notice that I did not say we would have a perfect family life. That may be what we dream of, but we must live in the real world. As Chuck Swindoll has said, while we expect perfection, we must learn to accept humanity.
That is where I am coming from this morning. I am a husband and father of three boys. I am a perfectionist. But my wife will tell you that there is an awful lot of my humanity that she lives and even puts up with. I do not claim to have all the answers for what is ailing families today, but I can say with certainty that I can point you in the direction of the one who does!
I. What is the family?
A. It is an institution of God
B. It is the basic building block of society
II. Purposes in the Family
Ephesians 5:22-24 tell us that wives are to submit to their husbands. There are a number of men here this morning who are shouting , “Amen! Preach it brother!” It’s interesting that they are doing so on the inside and not out loud. Perhaps this is because they really haven’t taken the time to understand what this means...they simply like the way it sounds.
There are also a number of ladies, young and old alike, who are talking to me the inside their own heads. They are saying, “SUBMIT?! Have you fallen off your rocker? I am a person with ideas and abilities. My life is my own and if I submit to anyone I will submit to God alone! Got it?” I think that they too probably do not understand what these verses are saying.
It’s important for us to nail this down. We must have a proper understanding. No matter what your initial reaction to that word submit, I submit to you that we cannot improve upon what God has told us in his word! If he says this is the way something should work we would do well to take heed. Let’s examine what the apostle Paul is saying here.
a. “All [that] Paul is saying here is within the context of a Christian marriage. He is not implying that women are inferior to men or that all women should be subject to men. The [submission]…is voluntary, not forced. The Christian wife who promises to [submit] does so because her vow is ‘as to the Lord.’”
b. Verses 23-24 explain that marriage is a reflection of the relationship between Jesus and the church. This puts marriage into an incredibly elevated position. It also illustrates the fact as to why a wife can submit to her husband—because he has obligations to her in the Lord. So this is not a one-sided deal.
Ephesians 5:25 tells us that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. We hear the first part of that verse and think, “No problem. I can love my wife like Jesus loved the church!” The problem is that many times the last part of the sentence is ignored. It tells us that Jesus gave himself up for the church. Uh, oh! This could be more than we bargained for.
What exactly does it mean that Jesus “gave himself up”. Let me illustrate.
(ILLUSTRATE BY STICKING A GUN IN SOMEONE’S BACK. THE ILLUSTRATION IS FOUND WHEN THEY LIFT THEIR HANDS INTO THE AIR. THEY HAVE SURRENDERED TO MY WILL)
Jesus did exactly what _______ just did—surrendered to the will of someone else. This raises the stakes for us gentlemen. While many of us may secretly smile at the word submit we must understand that we are responsible for providing the atmosphere for that to happen as we are submitted/surrendered to the will of God in our own lives!