Don't win the war and lose the relationship.
safeguarding the family
By Jena Simpson
Your family is the most precious gift God has given you. You would do anything to protect it from an intruder. But what are you doing to protect your family from the enemy? This sly and subtle enemy slips into homes unaware when barriers of protection are not set in place.
Home Sweet Home
There’s no place like home! Don’t you love to get home after a trip or a long day at work? Home should be our refuge, our safe haven.
How is the atmosphere in your home? Does it exude a peaceful calm or a chaotic storm? You determine the home atmosphere whether you realize it or not. You’ve heard the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody ain’t happy.” It’s amazing, almost scary at times, how one person in a home can set the tone for everyone else. That’s why it’s important to have a thankful attitude, a submissive spirit, and a song in your heart.
Thankful Attitude. Showing appreciation to those in your home deters negative attitudes and encourages peacefulness. Be thankful for your spouse and children, and tell them. Expressing thankfulness goes a long way toward maintaining a calm haven when the front door closes and the rest of the world is locked outside. Thankfulness and ill will cannot coexist under the same roof.
Submissive Spirit. A submissive spirit is essential to unity in the home. The family unit functions best when all members follow their God-appointed roles. The servant-leader husband, submissive wife, and obedient children produce a peacefulness that glorifies the Lord. Consistency is the key when it comes to our roles and Christian example. Satan can (and will) use any inconsistency in our lives to confuse and cause those in our families to believe his lies.
Song in the Heart. Uplifting, godly music is a unique element that helps to create harmony in the home and glorifies God. When God is glorified, the enemy has no place to stand. Music influences the way we feel, react, and think. What a blessing to wake in the night and hear songs replaying in my mind. Praise the Lord for a “song in the night.” Satan cannot break through those barriers.
In his book, The Bondage Breaker, Neil Anderson said, “How pathetically unaware we are of the biblical prominence of music in the spiritual realm! When Elisha was about to inquire of God, he said, ‘Now bring me a minstrel.’ And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him (2 Kings 3:15).
“During the reign of David, over 4,000 musicians were assigned to sing in the temple night and day (1 Chronicles 9:33, 23:5). It is the mark of Spirit-filled Christians to sing and make melody in their hearts to the Lord and speak to each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:18-20).”
Plan, Plan, Plan
One of the most important ways to safeguard your family is to plan for the unexpected. Anticipate it. Expect it. Be prepared.
Ready for the Crisis. Dennis Rainey said in Growing a Healthy Home, “If we wait until a crisis hits and then turn to the Scriptures, we won’t be prepared – and we’ll be more susceptible to the enemy.”
It’s not a matter of if trials will come, but when they come. Trials come in many forms: financial, physical, spiritual, and more. We can put money into an emergency fund to help when financial strain comes, eat right and exercise to help deter physical problems, but we cannot prevent trials from happening.
While it is wise to set aside emergency funds, eat right, and exercise, the most important element in emergency planning is the time we spend in God’s Word, because time with Him will see us through the tough trials. We can depend on the truths we store in our hearts from God’s Word to sustain us, whatever the crisis. God’s Word is the storehouse from which we draw strength to meet the day.
Apostles’ Example. Have you ever wondered what would have happened to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee when the storm came if they had not kept the ship in working order? What if they had waited until the storm arrived to make sure all was working properly? The day of the storm was not the time or place for preparation; it was time to depend on trustworthy ropes, oars, and anchors to save their lives. So let it be with us. Prepare for the storm before the storm.
Children: Heritage from the Lord
Team Discipline. How will disciplining your children be administered, and who is responsible for implementing the plan? After all, discipline is a Mom and Dad responsibility. Having a well-thought-out plan in place will prevent overreacting.
Discipline should always match the offense. Remember, children are children and will make childish mistakes. They shouldn’t be punished for childish irresponsibility but for defiance and disobedience. As they become teenagers, pick your battles carefully. Don’t win the war and lose the relationship. With a little time and a steady hand, children will outgrow some behavior patterns. Rules without relationships lead to rebellion.
Time to Train. The goal of discipline is training. It is important to remember that in Scripture, training children is the responsibility of parents, not the church or Christian school. Bible memory and character development are essential. This is part of the plan for insulating the family from the enemy’s tactics.
Taught to Think. Teach children to be thinkers. In American society today, the media communicates to us in ways that make us feel like dummies. Have you noticed how meteorologists tell us not only that severe weather is near, but to take cover immediately—as if we don’t know to do that? What other subtle messages are being sent daily via newscasts?
We must be able to reason and process what we hear and see from the media. Children and teens need to be cautioned about dangers that lurk on the computer, TV, and radio. They should be taught to respect parents and those in authority. There is security when Dad is the head of the home and is respected by everyone in the family.
Traumatic Teen Issues. Availability counts with kids. Children, even teens, need parents to be available, especially in our hectic culture. It’s easy to appear to be listening when in actuality we are distracted with other concerns. Teens need moms just as much, if not more, than preschoolers.
We think that because children reach a certain age, they can be left alone, and that’s true to a degree. But they must not be left alone too often. They need guidance, love, and understanding to keep them from looking for those qualities in the wrong places. Many harmful things are easily available today. That’s why parents must be there for them, guide them, and love them.
Materialism is a serious threat to the family if allowed in the home. Financial problems are a major cause of divorce. Take control of your finances before your finances take control of you. Teach children to handle money in a way that pleases God. Trust me here—it is all right to ask God for wisdom when spending your money.
Taught to Tithe. God must be honored first with the tithe. Today, many think they cannot afford to tithe when the truth is they can’t afford not to tithe. When God is honored with the first 10%, He makes the remaining 90% go farther than the original 100%. This is God’s way. He makes up the difference when we honor Him and manage our finances in the manner He directs.
Careful with Credit. Use credit cards only when the bill can be paid in full each month. If the money is not there to make a purchase, don’t buy it! Avoid using credit if you have a propensity toward spending.
It is wise to save for purchases and pay with cash. Save money by shopping at thrift stores, garage sales, and used bookstores. Look for the incredible deals available on the internet (if you do your homework). We have purchased two family vehicles and furnished a home with appliances using the internet. My point? You do not have buy new to get a good deal.
So What’s Ahead?
Safeguarding the family is a full-time job. Are you taking necessary precautions to protect the most important people in your life? The best way to safeguard your family is to stay in God’s Word so you know how He wants you to live. If you do, you’ll have what it takes to hang in there when times get tough. Don’t forget that God is in control, and He takes care of His own. He’s always there for you.
About the Writer: Jena Simpson serves as Online Learning/Lifetime Learning associate, Adult Studies associate, and Teacher Education secretary at Free Will Baptist Bible College. Her husband Barry is director of development with Free Will Baptist International Missions.
Seven Keys to Family Communications
Be positive when speaking to those in your family.
Listen carefully when they speak to you. Look them in the eye as you listen
and speak to them.
Spend time together.
Set boundaries for family time.
Support your children in their activities, but prioritize activities so everyone
is not overextended.
You can communicate without saying a word – be careful.