It is important to realize that family is not the prerogative of the married, and love is not exclusive to this relationship. I am adamantly opposed to the old saw that “there are just some people we can’t love.” We can all learn to practice love toward one another. Anything less for the Christian borders on heresy, because it defies the power of God’s Spirit in our lives and flails against the promises of Scripture. Christ’s new commandment is valid for us today. We are to love one another as He loved us, and by this shall the world know that we are His disciples.
Love is action with feeling and feeling with action. There isn’t anyone His Spirit can’t create this combination in my heart toward if I ask Him. I say this after personally struggling to love many unlikely people and after having discovered the amazing resources of God.
A Christian family should become a microcosm of the church. We need to set about to create within our families an atmosphere of devotion. The healthy vital signs—meaningful prayer, heart-lifting worship, shared fellowship around our common faith—should occur in our families as well as in our congregations.
In addition, we must affirm and encourage the development of one another’s gifts. How many husbands are concerned that their wives discover and utilize their gifts of the Holy Spirit and see their part in bringing this about?
One of the major reasons God established the family was for the purpose of the mutual nourishing of our spiritual potential given by the Holy Spirit. Yet, how few of us who live together have struggled to develop this heightened potential within our relationships.
Our homes have no disciplined atmosphere of Christian devotion. The joys of mutual prayer are often neglected. We actually compete for recognition and self-affirmation. We allow the weed of “Me-First” to choke our ground.
Ministry, that miraculous giving to one another of the Spirit of Christ, rarely soothes our battered psyches. We often must go outside our home if we are to find burden-bearers. As partners, we sometimes become draft horses pulling in opposite directions. Our straining influences the world little in terms of redemption. Married people need to come to terms with the many dichotomies which render their marital bonds a bondage. And, many singles will have to overcome the idea that marriage is the only recognizable relationship in the world.
Karen Mains has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.