3 – A family that loves God above all else—even itself (Matt. 22:37-39; Jn. 14:15).
4 – A family that loves its neighbors as it naturally loves itself (Mt. 22:39; Phil. 2:3). Note: There is no need to be concerned about your child’s self-esteem; he has more than enough already. Instead, train him to esteem Christ worthy of obedience, and others as worthy of service.
5 – A family that lives out the gospel…
• By practicing biblical confession (Ps. 51:1-4; 1 Jn 1:8-10).
• By reminding each other that Jesus died for our sins, and rose again to new life (1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 Pet. 3:18).
• By dispensing grace to one another (Eph. 4:29; Col. 4:6).
6 – A family whose Spirit-filled living creates an atmosphere where love and holiness grow (1 Pet. 4:8; Eph. 4:24). Note: The verse that precedes all of the marriage, family and work-related commands in Ephesians 5 is: “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5:18-21). To resist the order of the Christian life presented in Ephesians 5 is to resist the Spirit of God and his work in your family.
7 – A family that keeps membership and involvement in their local church a high priority.
• The priority of corporate worship (Jn 4:23; Heb. 10:24-25).
• The priority of service [serve together as a family when it is reasonable] (MMk 10:45; Gal. 5:13).
• The priority of biblical fellowship/care (Acts 4:34-35).
• The priority of financial stewardship and hospitality (Prov. 3:9-10; Rom. 12:13). For help, see HELP! I’m Drowning in Debt.
• Note: If a Christian family allows its involvement in outside activities to take priority over faithful attendance and involvement in its local church, it is settling for second best. This careless example will affect the generations to come.
8 – A family that understands and submits to God’s authority structures and how each member is called to serve within them.
Tedd Tripp rightly observes: “God calls His creatures to live under authority. He is our authority and has vested authority in people within the institutions he has established (home, church, state, business). You must not be embarrassed to be authorities for your children. You exercise authority as God’s agent. You may not direct your children for your own agenda or convenience. You must direct your children in God’s behalf for their good. Our culture tends toward the poles on a continuum. In authority, we tend toward a crass kind of John Wayne authoritarianism or toward being a wimp. God calls you by his Word and His example to be authorities who are truly kind. God calls you to exercise authority, not in making your children do what you want, but in being true servants—authorities that lay down your lives. The purpose for your authority in the lives of your children is not to hold them under your power, but to empower them to self-controlled people living freely under the authority of God. (Shepherding a Child’s Heart, p. 13, 14)”