February 5, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Take the lead in honoring one another.”—Romans 12:9–10 (CSB)
Imagine a home where there is peace, laughter, and love. Those who live there support and care for one another, respect and cherish each other, and together, they make home a restful and delightful place to be. What does it take to build this kind of family? Today’s passage sheds a light on how to create a family environment where peace and love reign.
To foster healthy families, we must make love the center of our homes. The word used for love is the Greek word agape, meaning an unconditional, steadfast love. This love must be genuine and sincere. This is not mere feelings, but actions done out of a genuine heart. If your motivation for loving others is fear, guilt, or emotional manipulation, then that is not genuine love. The genuine love displayed between those in a family will carry over and bless others.
God desires our families to be a reflection of His character to this world. This means we must be people who hate evil and who make no room for the malice and sinfulness in our hearts that ruin us and our relationships. Instead, we must be people who cling to what will bring life and goodness. This means choosing to speak and act in ways that bring life in our relationships. To do this, we need to be honest about the ways our selfishness and pride bring detriment to our home instead of love. We then cleave to God’s grace, because grace generates the good that will fill our home.
A little healthy competition is always a memorable part of a family. So, what would it look like if, in our families, we became competitive in outdoing one another in showing honor? The word honor in today’s passage can mean to show a price or worth. We give honor by showing those around us how much they are worth to us, and we show honor in the ways we serve others.
Jesus is our ultimate example. He had all glory and honor, yet He chose to empty Himself so He could serve us and honor God the Father. Likewise, we cultivate a godly home when we take the lead in serving and honoring those in our home over serving ourselves. This is a choice we make and should not depend on whether others are serving us in return.
Our families hold the greatest potential of showing this dark and lost world the truth of God’s love. When we love, choose goodness, and humbly serve one another, we display God’s nature first to our family members and then to those around us. If all our homes were filled with evidence of God’s love, what would our neighborhoods, counties, and nations look like, not only now, but generations to come? God promised Abraham his family would be a channel of blessing for the entire world, and He intends to do the same with ours.
Pause: On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate how well love is displayed in your home? What are some things currently present in your family dynamic that are contributing to that score?
Practice: Set up a family meeting this week. Discuss some ways you can implement this verse into your family’s culture. Then, make a competition of serving each other and meet the following week to talk about how it went!
Pray: Father, thank You for loving me and making me part of Your family. Because You loved me by forgiving my sins, I can now through Your Spirit do the same to those in my family. Use my family as a display of Your love and grace for others to see. May You be glorified through the way we love and serve one another. Amen.
Gabriella Bemis serves as a volunteer for Calvary’s communications and worship teams. She holds an M.A. in psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary and is passionate about integrating her knowledge of human behavior with the truth of God’s word. When she is not writing resources or singing at church, Gabi loves to paint, cook, and enjoy time outdoors with her family and friends.