“Remember, these instructions are a permanent law that you and your descendants must observe forever. When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.’” When Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and worshiped. (Exodus 12:24-27)
We live in a multi-cultural society. While there are still areas of our country that are fairly homogenous, you can expect to encounter people that don’t look like you, don’t speak like you, don’t believe like you, and don’t live like you do. This has caused a lot of consternation among some people because they feel like our country is losing its “identity.” However, the reality is that we have never been entirely the same.
The dictionary defines culture as “the characteristic features of everyday existence shared by people in a place or time.” Cultures can be good or bad. Sometimes they create environments that allow for human flourishing in innovative ways. Other times they can be oppressive or hold people back from reaching their potential. That is why we must be careful to create and encourage the right kind of culture, and one of the most important places we can do that is within our own families. It is the place where we possess the most influence.
When we are children, we live in the culture that our parents create. Everything we do is shaped and molded by the expectations of our parents. As we become adults we have a chance to embrace the culture that we were raised in, or reject it and choose a different course for our life. When we become parents ourselves, we need to be mindful about the choices that we make and the culture that it creates, because that is what will ultimately shape our children. We can tell our kids how they should act all day long, but what will truly affect their behavior & development is the example that they see in us and the habits & patterns of our day-to-day existence.
My son is 13 years old and is already starting to push for his independence. That’s a good thing! I want him to develop a strong personality, know what he wants, who he wants to be, and have the drive to make that happen. But this has been a difficult period for me, because I realize that the nature of our relationship is changing and with each passing day, my influence in his life is lessened. My wife and I have a very limited amount of time left to help him grow under our supervision and that is why it is so crucial that the culture we foster in our family is a godly one.
God knew the profound influence that parents have upon their children. That is why so many times in Scripture he instructs us to be intentional in our interactions with them. We have to look for instructional moments in our day, and sometimes we have to go out of our way to create opportunities for these “life lessons.” That is the reason that we have to weave our faith into the fabric of our family life. That is what God was doing when he instructed the Israelites to remember, teach, and observe the Passover from generation to generation. How is this accomplished today? By creating sacred spaces and rhythms within your life to allow God a chance to move & speak.
How this looks for you or your family may look different than it does for me and my family. When you pray before your meals or at bedtime, you are creating a godly family culture. When you commit to regular attendance in a local church body and partake in communion, you are creating a godly family culture. When you read devotional material together and discuss it, you are creating a godly family culture. When you speak to each other with patience and grace, you are creating a godly family culture. When you go for a hike and take some time to appreciate the splendor of God’s creation, you are creating a godly family culture. When you fill your home with music that glorifies God (whether it’s the Gaithers, Hillsong, Lecrae, or Skillet), you are creating a godly family culture. When you volunteer to serve the less fortunate together, you are creating a godly family culture. The options are endless, but the important thing is that you find what God is trying to develop in your family and get on board with it.
Today, I encourage you to examine your family culture and ask God to reveal ways that your family can create an environment where he is free to lead and speak. Even if your family has always been kind of dysfunctional or your family tree produces more nuts than spiritual fruits, you can make a change for the better. You could be the one that turns it all around in your family!
Prayer: Lord God, we desire to experience you in new and exciting ways. Help us to embrace godly values and principles in our family life, and create of culture of godliness and holiness. Help us to avoid the trap of busy-ness and make space for you to lead and speak to us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!