February 28, 2022

Family Culture

Christian parents all want their children to become adults who serve God, but it's not something we can make them do. They have to make that choice for themselves, just like we did.  

Joshua was leading the Israelites. He wanted them to serve God, too, but he couldn't make them do it, either. Instead, he challenged them to serve God rather than the gods the nations around them were serving. He told them to choose who they would serve, then ended by saying, “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).

Joshua couldn’t force his family to serve God any more than we can. He could maybe demand outward obedience, but he couldn’t make his family love God. He could make serving God a foundational part of their family life, though, which would have a profound impact on them.

This verse always makes me think of a little story I read years ago, of a conversation between a mother and a teenage daughter who didn’t share her mother’s taste in music.

Daughter: “Mom, how did you come to enjoy listening to show tunes?”

Mom: “My mother listened to them all the time when I was growing up.”

Daughter: “That’s what I was afraid you’d say.”
We have the opportunity to show others a life where serving God is the norm | DevotedQuilter.com

The music we listen to, the foods we eat and our enjoyment of activities like hiking (or snowshoeing!) and reading are often influenced by the environment we grew up in. I've referred to it before as the family culture, for lack of a better term. We have the opportunity to use that influence or family culture to steer those who enter our homes in the direction of God, whether that’s by the music playing in the background, the artwork on our walls or the conversations around the table. This applies not only to children or grandchildren, but also to friends and family members who visit.

No, we can’t make others believe, but we can show them a life in which serving God is the norm and then pray that lifestyle takes root in their hearts, too.

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