We live in an age where the family is considered by many to be an obsolete institution. Open-mindedness and tolerance are the buzz words (unless you stand for family values, that cannot be “tolerated”). People are looking to the wisdom of this age to find meaning and purpose in life (while the dominant teaching is that there is no meaning and purpose in this life). People are hurting. Depression is the disease of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Suicide seems like an option. People are searching for fulfillment yet they cannot seem to find it, no matter what they pay. What is a young person, whose whole life stands before him or her, to do in order to avoid depression and being unfulfilled? I would like to give the solution is this article. It is not my solution but instead, it is God’s solution. The theme of an English competition that I will be leading in a couple of days is the title of this article, “Faith in Jesus and the family”. Jesus speaks of how to have faith that will transform you and give you the fulfillment that you are searching for. Would you like to know how you can have this faith and how it will be manifested in your life if you do?
I. Love God and Love people
Let’s turn to the Gospel of Mark, where a man comes to Jesus and asks for the key to success in life.
28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all ?”
29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL ! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD ;
30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12)
If you want to be satisfied in this life and be a successful person then you must first and foremost love God (Jesus). How? You must love Him with all that you are, with your;
- to love = to serve
- heart = the motor of life (the mind)
- soul = animation or actions
- mind = way of thinking
- strength = ability
Restating the verse with the meaning of the Greek words would be “serve the Lord your God with all your thoughts, with all your actions, with all your way of thinking, with all your ability. The proof that you love God (Jesus) with all that you are is seen through the way that you treat the people around you. In the context of the Bible, love/obedience/faith are all synonyms. In other words, if you love God then that means that you have faith in Him and that you are obedient to Him. These 3 are a package deal and you cannot separate them. You cannot claim faith in God without loving and obeying Him. If you love/obey/have faith in God, then that changes you from being a selfish person, one who only thinks about his own needs and desires, to a person who is ready to love and serve others. How can this been seen practically in the life of a person?
II. Serve God by serving your parents
Many people find themselves at odds with the family members with whom they live. How many teens cannot stand their parents? The secret to success is to honor and serve your parents as God and Jesus both command.
16 ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you. (Deut 5)
This should be done with no hidden motives, although there are great benefits to honoring and serving your parents. The first is that is shows or demonstrates that you have genuine faith in God, because you are willing to obey Him. The second is that you may have prolonged days upon this earth. The third is the fact that during those prolonged days, things will go well with you. What good would it do to have many days if everyday was full of suffering? To honor literally means “to give weight to” or in other words, to give priority to. If teens want to be successful and satisfied in this life then they must learn to honor and serve their parents, giving priority to their parents and not their own selfish desires.
III. Serve God by serving your brothers and sisters
How many teens cannot get along with their own brothers and sisters? Do you see a pattern here? When you do not love and serve God with all that you are then you will not be able to get along with the people of your own household. If you do love and serve God then you will be fulfilled in your relationships with others, starting with the members of your own family. Here is what James says about loving your brothers and sisters:
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. (James 2)
The Bible says that your faith is dead if it does not cause you to serve the people around you. What kind of faith do you have? Do you love and serve God by loving and serving the members of your own household. Does your relationship with God impact your family life in a positive way? What changes do you need to make based on what the Bible teaches us?
May God help us have true faith in Him so that we can have a true impact in the world around us.