A CHRIST-CENTERED FAMILY
PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE will soon teach Christians that the transformation of our lives is a gradual, progressive work of God. Justification takes place immediately when we first believe. Every believer is instantaneously forgiven and justified through Christ. But sanctification involves a lifetime of faithful diligence and application. For this reason, even Christian families in which every member has professed faith in Christ will not automatically exhibit the ethics of Christ’s love. We must deliberately turn from being a self-centered family to a Christ-centered family.
What, then, are some of the characteristics of a family that has renounced the love of self for the sacrificial love of Christ? I would assert that a Christ-centered family is one driven by three commitments, each of which begins with d: doxology, discipleship, and delight.
Doxology means worship, and a Christ-centered life is one that is motivated above all else for the glory and praise of God. If I am a Christian family member, why should I happily concede the best seat to my sibling, hand over the toy with a smile, tolerate some mess in the family room, or turn off the computer so as to read a book to my children? Answers abound: to benefit individually, avoid conflict, feel better about myself, and escape punishment—all of which are good reasons in their proper place. But the true motive for loving servanthood, and the one that will abide in transforming us, is gratitude for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the desire for Him to be praised in my life. This is the motive that should be pressed upon Christian hearts—young and old—in a Christ-centered family. Oh, how wonderful it is to praise and please the Lord, and how worthy He is that we should follow His loving example.
Discipleship means the deliberate following of Jesus Christ through the study of His Word, prayer, and church membership. In a Christ-centered family, the Bible is opened before the computer is turned on, the Word and prayer are taken in for strength in grace together with the food that gives vigor to our bodies, and the family is committed to the body of Christ, in which He dwells through His Spirit. Discipleship flows from doxology, which highlights the importance of family worship and diligently attending to the means of grace in the home and church.
Delight means rejoicing to look upon others in the way that Christ has looked upon us. Doxology and discipleship promote this delight, as we imbibe the Spirit of our Lord. Paul said, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.… Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:16–17). Paul’s emphasis was not only on how we see ourselves as born again but on how we now see fellow believers. What delight there is in realizing that we live in a Christian family where Christ is working for His glory. In a Christ-centered family, there is a sense of wonder at what God is doing in our lives that is more captivating than Barbie or Star Wars. John wrote, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). Is this a chore? No, it is a delight when we realize how God has loved us through the sacrificial service of His Son. The more clearly we see Christ and God’s amazing grace at work in us through Him, the greater is our delight in sacrificing ourselves for the glory of God in the life of our families, and then from the home into the church and the world.
Phillips, R. D. (2012). Self-Centeredness in the Family. Tabletalk Magazine, March 2012: The Self-Centered Life, 36(no. 3), 16–17.