As I teach the Bible, I am perpetually amazed by its relevance to our family challenges in the 21st century. After all, the Bible is the only ancient book where the author is still alive. My faith and my confidence is fortified through the fights and trials that we traverse in the family of God because “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1, ESV), and “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!” (Psalms 128:1).
The psalmist taught many promises and blessings that come to those who build with God. I have these experiences in my house, and I can assure you that they are real.
- There will be joy and happiness within the house (see Psalm 128:1).
- The family will enjoy the work of their hands. They will prosper and be blessed of God (see Psalm 128:2).
- The wife, the mother, will be blooming in the house (see Psalm 128:3).
- The children will be solid and rooted with Christian values, and that will be the difference in their life; you will be united around your table (see Psalm 128:3).
- You will be at peace despite the storms in each season of your life, from generation to generation. You will not be confounded when you will have to confront the enemies that hold the doors of the house (see Psalm 128:5-6).
Of course, this doesn’t mean that our families will be perfect. Even the parents of Jesus weren’t perfect. Remember that time with the family’s trip to Jerusalem? Jesus wasn’t more than 12 years old, and his parents simply forgot him in the temple.
Imagine the discussion between Papa and Mama in the family caravan returning to the house. Despite being accidentally left behind, Jesus still grew up in wisdom, in stature and in favor of the Lord and of all men (see Luke 2:52). Having Jesus growing up in wisdom, the family grew emotionally, in their relationships and in spirituality.
Although the parents of Jesus weren’t perfect, the Bible shows us the model of an extraordinary family, and it has this one, powerful reminder and encouragement for all of us: a strong family is not a perfect family. Rather, it’s a family that grows.
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.