An old African proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child. The modern-day “village” in this proverb is all of society, including schools, houses of worship, doctors, and businesses, but most of all, government programs. Some have used this idea to advocate for various laws, regulations, welfare state programs, and taxpayer support of “family planning” organizations (i.e., Planned Parenthood).
I submit that it does not take a village to raise a child. God already designed the perfect nurturing environment for a child. It’s called a family. It is pointless to talk about caring for the needs of children while we do nothing to strengthen the family. Children don’t need all this meddling by the “village.” Children need the family. We need to encourage parents how to be parents and how to build healthy families. That means we need to teach moms and dads how to put God at the center of their families.
The “village” that surrounds our families today is a godless village, so the “village” is essentially useless. A godless village can produce only godless children.
Where do godly children come from? Only one place: godly families. The psalmist tells us that unless God is at the center of the family, the family is adrift – our children will be unsafe, insecure, and in danger. But when we place God at the center of our family, we will see four wonderful results.
Result Number 1: When God is at the center of the family, He will grow the family.
When God is at the center of the home, the family will grow in faith, character, and maturity. When God’s Word fills a home with His wisdom, the insignia of spiritual maturity is imprinted on the souls of each family member. When God’s presence permeates the family, there is harmony and peace throughout the household. When the family seeks the mind of God in every important decision, that home becomes a testament to God’s grace.
It is impossible to raise a family for Christ in this corrosive and anti-Christian culture without hours and hours of prayer. It is impossible to raise a family for Christ in our own flawed and sinful flesh. Only complete reliance on God can enable us to raise our children in the fear and nurture of the Lord.
Result Number 2: When God is at the center of the family, He will bless the family.
Across our culture, families are disintegrating. Children are neglected. Parents are raising their children out of guilt, not love. They give them everything in the world except the most important thing of all — time spent together in prayer and the Word of God.
Children who are blessed — and children who are a blessing — are brought up to know the Lord. Only when we raise children to love God, to honor their father and mother, and to obey God’s Word, are they blessed to be a blessing to others.
Result Number 3: When God is at the center of the family, He will guide the family.
Children who observe their parents regularly studying the Word of God for the direction in their lives will grow up seeking guidance from the Word. The habit of seeking direction from the Word is usually caught, not taught. As parents, we impart this habit more by setting an example than by preaching to our children.
How do we find guidance from God’s Word? To find guidance for our daily lives, we need to be daily, regularly, habitually feeding on the Word of God. We need to systematically build God’s wisdom into our lives so that, when a crisis comes, when it is time to make a difficult decision, we will already have God’s answer waiting for us in our hearts.
Result Number 4: When God is at the center of the family, He will protect the family.
We live in a dangerous world with bullying and violence in schools, mind-altering drugs in the streets, and predators on the Internet and in our neighborhoods. Real dangers are facing our kids and surrounding our families. That’s why the psalmist said, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Let’s put those words in today’s terms: “Unless God is the protector and defender of our families and communities, the police and first responders can do little to save us.”
I thank God for police officers and firefighters and emergency medical workers and the military — all the brave protectors of our families and communities. But we have an even greater Guardian than the police or the fire department. That Guardian’s name is Jesus. He sends his angels to minister to our families. Unless He is watching over us, all other guardians are in vain.
The Lord will protect those who place God at the center of their families. Those who place God at the center of their families will find shelter under His wings. Those who place God at the center of their families are engraved on the palms of His hand. You have His word on it.
When God is at the center, God grows the family, God blesses the family, God guides the family, and God protects the family. To revitalize your family, place God at the center of your life, your marriage, and your family.
Michael Youssef is the founder and president of Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, a worldwide ministry that leads the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ through the creative use of media and on-the-ground ministry teams (LTW.org). His weekly television programs and daily radio programs are broadcast in 26 languages and seen worldwide, airing more than 14,000 times per week. He is also the founding pastor of The Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Youssef was born in Egypt, but in 1984, he fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming an American citizen. He is the founding and senior pastor of Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia. Youssef holds degrees from Moore College in Sydney, Australia and Fuller Theological Seminary in California, with a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Emory University. He is the author of 40 books. His latest book, Saving Christianity?: The Danger in Undermining Our Faith — and What You Can Do about It is available in bookstores everywhere.