An anonymous writer wrote: Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them: work, family, health, friends, and faith, and you’re keeping them all in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and faith – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.
Weeks ago we started a series on juggling the 5 balls of life, but due to a broken computer screen that was just replaced, I was unable to continue the series on a weekly basis. So now, I will try to play catchup.
With that being said, God shows us in Luke 14 that faith has to be the #1 ball – it is the most fragile making it the most important. Jesus showed us that faith must be #1 in our lives because it will keep us from dropping the other four.
In fact, focusing on faith first helps us to truly prioritize the other 4 – keeping all the balls balanced and in the air. Focusing on faith helps us to understand what God is looking to see in the other four.
So all we have to do is look at Creation to see what God deems most important.
First He created humankind in His image to have relationship with them. He didn’t just create them and leave them to their own. He came into their presence to commune with them. He created them for faith.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from Him the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” Genesis 3: 8-9
Second He created male and female to have relationship with one another. Family was ordained by God from the beginning of time.
“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2: 20-25
God has laid out the dynamics of family – man can define it however he chooses, but God has made it clear through the scripture I just shared the true definition. But today we’re not going to delve into what makes a family. We know that family takes on many different forms in this cursed world. Rather we will be seeing how faith, if treated as the #1 ball, helps make family into what God desires.
And whether single or married, young or old, scripture always provides us with principles that can be applied to our lives.
Paul’s teaching on family in Ephesians 5: 22 – 6: 4 is often taken out of context. And when taken out of context you see where the curse of sin is involved.
“To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to your children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’” Genesis 3: 16
So on one hand, you have some self-righteous pious men who believe a woman’s sole role is to submit to their authority – that God ordained that they rule over their wives. So they latch onto verses 22-24 in Ephesians 5. They use it to keep women in their place.
And yet, on the other hand, you have self-righteous irreverent women who believe that men have no headship over them – that women are equal to and even far superior than their male counterparts. They too latch onto verses 22-24 in Ephesians 5, but to fight against it – to disprove what was written and to live solely for their desires – to defeat the curse.
Yet faith, understanding God in the Big Picture, understanding God in context, shows us what God truly desires for the family. God didn’t desire the curse. Man chose it through our disobedience. And so what God is asking His children to do in the face of the curse is to be family the way he destined it to be and live according to the principles He has outlined for all sexes.
So God’s Big Idea for us is this: True Family = Done God’s Way.
In other words, if you want true family, then you got to do it God’s way. And if you do things God’s way, you’ll get true family. If you want true family, you have to have faith to understand what God is looking for and then do it His way.
You see, the outline of what God had Paul write to the Church – to the believers in Ephesus – was: Wives submit to your husbands, Husbands love your wives, and Children obey your parents. But really, it was so much more than that.
God puts a “Why” – a reason for doing what He’s asking you to do. God gives a “Why” because if we will follow His way we will see the fruit of His reward – a family that beats the odds stacked against it in this cursed world.
Now before jumping into the “whys”, I want to make these disclaimers: The word submission is only bad because man has made it bad. What God established in the beginning was good, and humankind has made a debacle of what true family should look like. And submission applies to more than just marriage.
Now, why should wives submit to their husbands?
Everything has an order.
God is saying, “As you submit unto your husbands, you submit unto me. I am God the Father, Head of all. Jesus, the Son, submits unto Me and does what I want Him to do. The Holy Spirit submits unto Me, as well as Jesus, doing what We want Him to do. The Church is under the submission of Christ who is the Head of the Church. And the husband, who is the head of the household, is under the submission of Christ. Therefore, the wife should submit to the husband as this is the order I established.”
Submission has its rewards
When a wife submits to her husband she is fulfilling God’s plan and will receive His favor. Not only will she find her joy in the Lord for doing what God desires. She will also find the favor of her husband who feels lifted up and needed because his wife trusts him to lead. When a man feels respected and honored by his wife, he will do anything for her. If she will submit to her husband’s lead, she will be more empowered within the household than the woman who fights her husband to gain that power and equality.
Now why should husbands love their wives?
Christ sets the example
If a husband is a Follower of Christ, he is under the headship of Christ, meaning he is to submit to Christ. And because Christ so loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, caring for and meeting her needs daily, husbands are to do the same for their wives.
Love has its rewards
When a husband loves, cares for, meets the needs of his wife, holding no authority over her head, his wife will love him fully and will willingly fall under his headship and submit to his leading. His wife will trust him because he is doing everything he can to make sure she feels like an equal – which he would die for her if need be.
Now, why should children obey their parents?
It is a commandment with a promise
If children will obey their parents, they will be blessed and enjoy a long life on earth. This is the promise given. God established this commandment as one of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. In order for order to happen in a home, within a society, children must obey their parents.
Obedience has its rewards
If children will obey their parents, it means they will be trusted by their parents. And the more parents trust their children, the more freedom parents will give to their children. So God makes it clear: Obey = Freedom. If children fulfill their natural desire to live for self, they find their freedoms becoming less and less with each disobedient act.
If more families were to live as God has directed – were to place their priority on its’ importance and doing it God’s way – we would see families growing in love and connection with one another. More importantly we would see families growing stronger in their relationship with God who created family.
So in conclusion, to keep the balls of life in the air, we’re beginning to see how interconnected they really are. But the balls of faith and family are rather similar in that God established that if both are to work, He must be central.
Juggling the balls of faith and family can and must be done. But they must be done according to God’s principles.
Faith is the #1 Ball. If it isn’t, all other balls will fall to the ground. But if it is, then family will become #2. And the other 3 will fall into line with these two.
So the question to conclude today’s message is: Are you doing family the way God wants it done? Are children obeying their parents? Are adults loving and submitting their wills to Christ, who in turn is calling them to love and submit to others, especially their spouses?
If not, start. You won’t be disappointed by the results – the results will come from God.