On April 22, 2018 at 6:32 am, our son Josiah Thomas entered this world to increase our family head count to five! I sat there in the hospital completely exhausted (as if I did all the work), yet overjoyed to be given the beautiful gift of another child. I cried, prayed and definitely dozed off a few times while my wife pressed through like a champ, but the Lord was also stirring my heart about His own dream for family.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.”
— Gen. 2:18
We know that marriage was God’s idea from the beginning, but why was it such a centerpiece in His plan? What is He after by joining us together in families, and where is He going with it in the end? There is so much to be said about this, but in order to understand God’s destiny for family, we must first seek wisdom and revelation about His desire and design for family.
God’s Desire for Family
Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.
— Mal. 2:15
Scripture reveals that God was after something even more when He united man and woman together in marriage beyond their distinct relationship with one another. He was seeking for them to produce Godly offspring. Whether they be natural, adopted or spiritual children (disciples), we were meant to reproduce and raise families after His own heart. Why? Because God Himself is a Father who longs for a family made in His image whom He can dwell among, provide for, protect, pass an inheritance to, and raise up to work alongside Him to help fulfill His good and perfect will (Gen. 1:26-31; Rev. 21:1-9). If we who hold our new born babies in our arms as parents are so deeply moved, how much more is our heavenly Father moved with desire when He looks at every child who is born into His growing family? Jesus said that all of heaven rejoices every single time that one sinner repents (Luke 15)!
God’s intention for the family has always been at the core of His strategy for establishing His kingdom and bringing restoration to the fallen earth (Gen. 1:28; Mal. 4:5-6; Matt. 17:11). After sin entered the human experience, God called a man named Noah to bring his family with him to build, preserve and restore what was lost. He later called Abraham to become the father through whom all the families of the earth would blessed. God would even send His only begotten Son through this family, from the lineage of King David, to be crucified for our sins, buried and raised from the dead, so that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16). It was His plan all along to take on our flesh in Jesus Christ to pay the price of redemption as our kinsman, so that we could be called children of God (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 2:10-18; Jn. 1:12-13). Now, it is His Great Commission to the Church to function as a spiritual family, with mothers and fathers raising up sons and daughters, and with brothers and sisters loving, serving and honoring one another (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 12:10; 1 Cor. 4:14-17). God still desires to bring about His purposes through families who unite as the one Body of Christ (Ps. 133; Jn. 17).
God’s Design For Family
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
— Psalm 127:3-5
God has uniquely designed family, whereby every relationship and role is equally valuable and important. Imagine if a vehicle was manufactured in a way that was contrary to its design. How could we expect it to do what it’s supposed to if every part was out of place? God has created mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters to be the same way. The family unit was intended to be a vehicle that moves forward with dignity, authority, purpose and love to overcome obstacles together, bear fruit that remains, and bring blessing to the world around them. Fathers must be fathers and mothers must be mothers.
When we understand the authority, power and plan that God has for families, then we can begin to understand why the family unit has been under enemy assault since the beginning. Our society is riddled with broken families, fatherless children, adultery, abuse, divorce, abortion, and so much more. Children are disobedient to their parents, while parents continually provoke their children to wrath. Families who were once close, have since been torn apart by the snarling teeth of pride, bitterness, envy and greed. Why all of this? Because Satan knows the threat that a godly family presents to his dark domain!
Our enemy fears that there are still families out there who will actually take a stand at his gate and overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Rev. 12:11). He trembles knowing that if he cannot divide godly families who make up the household of faith, then he has to give an early forfeit to the fight for the soul of humanity (Gal. 6:10; Matt. 16:18). Thus, he has targeted key relationships to destroy, and he has sought to darken and distort our view of family altogether.
The sanctity of marriage has been repeatedly trampled underfoot across our nation. Children are being viewed as an unneeded liability rather than a precious gift and heritage from the Lord. They are treated as hindrances to our comfort that keep us from our goals rather than our help, our joy and our life mission.
We are gloriously invited to share in God’s heart and story by raising up our children and growing the kingdom of God, but this is a calling that requires far more than changing a few diapers, providing a few meals and turning on Netflix. We cannot afford to relinquish our responsibility to give them biblical shelter, guidance or discipline, nor can we afford to abuse our authority, to overly shelter them to the point that they become paralyzed with fear or provoked to rebel. If the rules we give our children are just about pleasing us, then we make ourselves God and produce in them an unhealthy man-pleasing, performance-driven spirit that rebels out of bitterness and frustration. On the contrary, if we let our children make their own rules, then we empower them to become their own god, producing a lawless, narcissistic, entitled generation that has no clear moral compass or respect for authority. But if we are children of God ourselves who understand who we are and what God is after, then we have the grand opportunity to train up our kids in the way they should go, so that when they are old, they will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). We must resolve to raise our kids up deliberately and delicately like arrows in the hand of a warrior, trusting the Lord as we prepare them and then release them into the world.
God’s Destiny for Family
A family who passionately serves the Lord is still His primary method of warfare against the kingdom of darkness, and I believe the Holy Spirit is orchestrating an end-time revival that is deeply connected to the restoration of family. If you are reading this, then it is not too late. If you come from a broken family, if you feel like you have failed as a parent, or if you are hoping for restoration in your family, then I implore you to call upon the name of the Lord with me, receive His mercy, and believe with me for revival in the home! A well organized church is good, but it is not enough. A doctrinally sound church is good, but it is not enough. A community-serving, missionary-sending church is good, but it is not enough. A praying church is great, but it is not enough. The world needs a Church that looks, speaks and acts like God’s intention for the family. We need fathers and sons, mother’s and daughters, brothers and sisters of faith to rise up in the fear of the Lord! I believe that God is raising up the family of His Church in the midst of the most sexually broken, fatherless, disobedient, self-absorbed, violent and rebellious generation to rescue, redeem and restore the hardest and darkest hearts before His glorious return.
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.
— Psalm 112:1-2
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
— Psalm 68:5-6