One of the greatest resources God gives us is the family. Families provide acceptance, encouragement, guidance, and counsel. Bringing trouble on your family–whether through anger or through an exaggerated desire for independence–is foolish because you cut yourself off from all they provide. “Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.” (Prov. 11:29) In your family, strive for healing, communication and understanding.

There are two essential elements of family — marriage and parenthood — that reveal God’s character like nothing else in Creation. The love between a husband and wife provides a glimpse of Christ’s passionate devotion to us as His bride. In the same way, the ups and downs of parenthood offer a compelling picture of God’s tenderness and patience toward us as His children. And family does more than reflect God’s character. It provides a safe place where children can experience God’s love (through their parents) and learn how to love other people. Because the family is ordained by our heavenly Father, is it any wonder that Satan attacks the family just as heartily as he does the church?

Scripture is full of wisdom for our families. “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deut. 5:16) We are to honor our parents as we are to honor the Lord. It is a commandment that tells us IF we do, it will go well with us. The unstated assumes that if we don’t, it will NOT go well with us. This is repeated in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” (Eph. 6:2-3)

Paul reminds us of how we are supposed to treat and submit to others as to Christ just a few verses before he tells us: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:10-11) This is not a coincidence, as the devil schemes to divide families. When we are divided, we are easy prey. Instead of dividing ourselves from our family, we are to listen “to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” (Prov. 1:8-9)

Instead of causing trouble in our families, and thereby hurting our testimony for Christ, we are encouraged to be wise. A wise person is a model of a meaningful life. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives.” (Prov. 11:30) Like a tree attracts people to its shade, his or her sense of purpose attracts others who want to know how they too can find meaning. Gaining wisdom yourself, then, can be the first step in leading people to Christ. Leading people to Christ is important because it keeps us in touch with the Lord while offering others eternal life.