Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock
The family has been called an institution, and like any institution it needs rules. Rules serve as guides, guards and goads! In order to have peace and harmony in the home, everyone needs to be on the same page. Imagine how confusing it would be if a nation did not have a constitution to go by. In the same way, if our families don’t have some guidelines, or if there are selectively enforced rules, there is going to be chaos. It is wise and valuable for both parent and child to have consistent guidelines so that each family member can know what’s expected. Family rules are wonderful guidelines that reinforce character traits, establish healthy boundaries, and encourage life skills.
Setting up family rules is like establishing a constitution for the home. In America there are a lot of different local codes but there’s only one constitution. The constitution has remained a core curriculum, a set of values, and away to keep its people going in the same direction. The guiding principles of the home become the basis by which families can make good and wise decisions.
We notice in these verses that God is attempting to inspire good direction in life. He reminds families that there are great rewards in having principles, commandments and laws for your home.
3 Positive Attributes of Family Rules:
1. They GUIDE Us
“When thou goest, it shall lead thee...” (Proverbs 6:22).
It will lead us into the things that we should do. Every family should have good, positive and redeeming things in it like quality education and worshipping God. Besides leading into good things, godly rules also lead us away from destructive things as well.
We once rented a little fishing boat and went out onto the lake. As we were getting into the boat, the deck hands reminded us of areas that we might like to visit. They also told us of little buoys in the water that will mark areas that are off limits. These were areas that were very rocky and shallow, and if you got too close, you would mess up the propeller and get stranded. The buoys were there to tell us where to go, but they were also there to tell us where not to go. In order to have an enjoyable time you need to follow the rules. It is easy to apply this illustration to the ways family rules provide a guide to a happy home.
2. They GUARD Us
“When thou sleepest, it shall keep thee” (Proverbs 6:22).
As you sleep, your conscience will be clear. Having a clear conscience is the world’s greatest sleeping pill! There’s something amazing about that divine anesthetic called a clear conscience. Going to sleep every night sensing that as far as you know, your conscience is void of offence towards God and man, is a sweet way to live.
3. They GOAD Us
“…For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” (Proverbs 6:23).
Family rules prompt us a higher standard. For example: I, for one, have never understood why some people get all bent out of shape at the Pastor when they go to church and hear morals preached. Honestly, that’s what I want to hear when I go to church. I want to be convicted, or goaded, into good choices. I want to know how I can change and honor Christ more. I want to get rid of the junk that’s keeping me from following the Lord. I want to hear about the right way to live. That’s why Christianity is called “that way” in the book of Acts (Acts 19:9). Christians are the only people I know that can come down to an altar and weep their eyes out, feel like dirt and then walk home excited and believing that God is wonderful and life is good! God’s Word has a wonderful way of speaking to us.
One of the best things to do as you establish family rules is to do so early (when you “awake” as Solomon says here). We should make a family constitution at the “awakening” of our marriage (wedding) or at the “awakening” of having children. Having family Bible time in the morning (when you awake), several days a week, was always a great time for us to establish and go over these family rules. You might say, “I don’t think we need more rules.” I would agree that we don’t need more meaningless codes. What we do need, however, is a core “curriculum” as it were, to keep us all going in the same direction.
In a furniture store, I once saw a nice wall decoration that had the words “Family Rules” on it printed in a nice decorative way. It was handsomely done with some good insights. It did not contain any Christian values, nor was it the most important truths for a family, however the decoration brought up a wonderful concept to me, and that is to keep your “constitution” visible. It would be good if every family would decide on and then purchase or make a Family Rules sign. As we come up with these family rules they must be: