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Don’t Waste Your Family



Through our current collection of talks, Nothing Wasted, Ben Stuart imparts wisdom on what it looks like to honor and obey your family as the Bible calls us to.

Key Takeaway

You've been placed in a family. 100% of us are children. You have a God-given role to play. Obey and honor God by honoring your family. This is an act of worship.

How seriously do you take the role God has given you in life?

We all are members of a family. 100% of us are children. We have all been profoundly impacted by our family.

God talks about every role in a family.

1 Peter 3:7 tells husbands to be understanding about the sensitivities of their wives so their prayers are not hindered. 1 Timothy 5:4 says to treat your aging parents well. Paul defines Godliness this way.

God inextricably links faith in Him and grace shown to your biological family. If you don't care for your family, do you really even know God?

God is sovereign over your family.

Ephesians 3:14 proves family is God's idea. Every family on earth is named Him. Adults have sex! They make babies! Older men and women teach them how to flourish in their masculinity and femininity and instill in them values and morals. God calls us to cultivate, which means to take raw material things and situate them in a way for life to flourish. God has shown us how to do this through creation.

God designed the family for cultivation. Sin distorted the family into chaos.

Eve was meant to help Adam lead, but she tempted him to a self-absorbed expression. Adam was passive and let Eve go down a destructive path when he should have been protecting her. Where there was once vulnerability, it was now shame and blame. One of their children killed the other. The first nuclear family was a mess!

Your family issues don't isolate you, they connect you to the whole human story. Not every family gets joy. Every family gets pain.

Every family messes up from Adam to Abraham, God chooses to bless Abraham and bless every family through him. God redeems the family unit as a means of redemption. Grace starts in a little family and has an effect on every family. God has not given up on family. He is sovereign over family, not just the institution, but your particular one.

In Ephesians 3:14, when it says every family on earth is named after God, Paul is saying God is the source of every family. Your particular family is not an accident. You're in your family on purpose. Read the prayer that follows in Ephesians 3:14-19. The God whose love cannot be measured; that loving God rules over your family. That liberates you from sin-justifying victimhood. It also gives you the compassion to love people in your family whether they filled their roles well or not.

Joseph was an example of this. His brothers hated him and violently mistreated him. He had to listen to all of it. Instead of killing him, they sell him into slavery. He gets placed in prison after a wrongful accusation. He's left there for a long time. God didn't forget about him. He elevated him to second in command over Egypt, but even well into his 40s, he's dealing with his past. He names his first child "Forget you, family". But God uses him to take care of a nation...AND his family. They break down in front of him and are scared Joseph will kill them, but he realizes that God controls his story and is willing to be a conduit of grace to his family. See Genesis 45:6-8.

Your spiritual family can you the resources to bless your biological one. Jesus did this; his own family spoke poorly of him and mocked him. Yet, after Jesus was resurrected, He visited His disciples and His brother James, one who had ridiculed him, not to rub it in his face, but to offer grace. James would go on to write a book about how grace can change a life because it happened to him through his brother.

In Ephesians 1-3, the only command is to "remember". It's really all about how much Jesus loves you; when you are lost, He brings you in. When you were abandoned, He made you a part of His family. Then, there is this incredible prayer for us to understand how vast is the love of the Heavenly Father. The back half of the book is all about how we are called to walk in a manner worthy of the calling. There are 41 commands, Paul focuses five times on the command to "walk". The fifth time he says to walk in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit. That looks like speaking to each other in psalms and spiritual songs, singing and making a melody to the Lord, giving thanks to God, and submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ. This includes children to parents. When you know God and are filled with the Spirit of God, He gives you a role to fill.

  • God is sovereign over my family and I steward a role in that family.
  • I have the inexhaustible love of God, and therefore, I walk in wisdom, making the most of my time.
  • His Spirit fills you, therefore, children obey your parents.

Don't waste your family: take up your role in cultivating a culture of honoring which all in the family can flourish under God.

Read Ephesians 6:1-4. Children aren't about age, it means to "come from some parents". Obey as a function of your obeying God. Deuteronomy 5:16 - the family is the structure on which society stands. The breakdown of the family directly correlates to the worst of what is in society.

Children can cultivate a culture of honor in the family by:

  1. Listening attentively. The word obey combines "listen" and "under"; we can honor our parents by listening attentively. Come into your parent's circle as a learner.
  2. Acting responsively. Be inclined in your heart to do what your parents say.
  3. Speak generously to them. Don't underestimate their need to see themselves replicated in you. Sing songs over them. Thank them for what they did in their life that had an effect on you.

Parents can cultivate a culture of honor in the family by:

  1. Avoid being overbearing. Harsh demands, constant nagging, pressure to achieve, and nitpicking their decisions are not helpful. Overly involved parents in adults' children's lives do more harm than good. Read the Proverbs; the father doesn't command and demand; he entreats and begs his son to listen. The son is probably around 13 at this point. You're raising them to be peers. You become less of a commander and more of an adviser.
  2. Not disappearing. Studies show that growing up without a father alters the brain and makes children more aggressive and angry. This can be physically not there or not present in your presence. Put the phone down.
  3. Be advising. Share your failures.
  4. And encouraging. Your adult children need to hear you say you believe in them. Be the person you needed when you were younger.

Don't put it off. Say all the things to honor them. Fill your role for the glory of God and your role in your family.


"He is sovereign over family, not just the institution, but your particular one."

Ben Stuart

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Scripture References

  • 1 Peter 3:7
  • 1 Timothy 5:4
  • 1 Timothy 5:8
  • Ephesians 3:14-19
  • Genesis 45:6-8
  • Ephesians 6:1-4
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.