20 Febrary 2020
Being a relatively new father and hence struggling to catch up on what parenting and family is all about, I recently read a book, The Storm-Tossed Family by Russell Moore. The book started by outlining how family can give us so much joy, but also much heartache. It stated that, while we all have very different experiences of family, our habits, values and experiences are often shaped by our family contexts.
The book was not a practical ‘how-to’ handbook. Rather, it outlined how the cross of Jesus should shape our views and actions towards our spouse, children, parents, and importantly – church.
It was an engaging book that used examples from Moore’s life and ministry to illustrate gospel truths. Here are a few things I found enlightening:
- Our homes are frontlines of spiritual warfare. We are prone to tie our identities up with family. We too easily make family the most important thing in life. The inheritance we look forward to is our earthly, familial one. For these reasons (and more) the Devil works to undermine this area. To tell us that family is the most important thing, or that it is the least important thing.
- Our earthly families have been broken and flawed in every generation since sin entered the world in Genesis 3. We need to place the gospel at the centre of our family lives so that our identity and inheritance are found in the cross. Seeing ourselves as our family’s messiah, or they yours, will lead to exhaustion and bitterness. When Jesus is your Messiah you are free to serve those God has placed around you.
- The church is a family… Often churches are advertised as ‘family-friendly’. This should not be our view of church. The Bible tells us that church is family. You are called to be a father, mother, a brother or sister, whether you have any natural or legal family at all. In 1 Timothy 1:2 – Paul calls Timothy his ‘true child in the faith’. Paul also likens himself to a father (1 Corinthians 4:15) and encouraged Timothy to treat the church as family (1 Tim 5:1-2). When we accept Christ, we are adopted as children of God. We are told to call our God ‘Father’. This has many implications about how we view the church, as well as our attitudes and actions towards each other as church members.
Each chapter of the book addresses a different family relationship and dynamic (church, marriage, singleness, raising children). Each chapter uses the Bible to convict, and points back to the centrality of Jesus. I recommend this book to you if you are a part of a family (which you are!).