“Daddy, why are we doing so much hiking?” my son asked.
We had paused to take in the view while on a hike in the North Georgia Mountains. A deep canyon of trees and jutting rocks lay beneath us. The panorama was breathtaking.
“Because it’s in the family. We’re hikers. It’s what we do,” my husband answered with a smile.
While we don’t have a family charter, we do have things that characterize or define who we are as a family. We have habits and traditions that ground and unite us. They give us a sense of belonging and identity.
Whether we realize it or not, every family is creating its own identity. Whether it’s holding hands at the dinner table to pray or constantly belittling each other; whether it’s laughing at the same jokes or isolating ourselves in separate rooms, we are creating an identity.
If your children were to describe your family, what would they say? If they were to fill in the blank, “Our family is ___, we do ____, we believe _____, how would they respond?
As believers, we ought to be intentional in the identities we create for our family. First and foremost, our identities need to be grounded in Christ. Because of Christ, we have been saved from sin. We are redeemed, forgiven, changed, and adopted children of God. We are anchored as a family in what Christ has done for us through the gospel. As we go about our days, the gospel must our driving force in our raising our children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). It is these truths that we teach our children, all the time and everywhere (Deuteronomy 6:7).
Out of this identity flows everything else we do as a family. The decisions we make, the activities we choose to participate in, the way we use our time, how we spend our money, and the ways we interact with each other all come back to this foundation of who we are in Christ.
All families are different and each reflects God in a unique way. A few questions to ask yourself about your own family’s identity:
1. How do we serve Christ and his kingdom?: How does our family serve the body of Christ and the Kingdom of God? We do not live in isolation. We are also connected to the greater family of God. As a family, how do we participate and serve in our local Body? How do we live out the Great Commission, spreading the gospel in our communities and around the world?
2. How do we teach our children about what Christ has done?: What kind of habits have we developed to teach our children the Word? How do we pray together as a family? How do we incorporate the gospel in our conversations, discipline, and teaching?
3. How do we reflect God’s image and glorify him in our creativity and leisure pursuits?: We are all gifted with different skills, talents, interests, and abilities. How do we pursue them in a way that reflects God and glorifies him?
4. How do we enjoy God’s world and each other?: We bring God glory when we enjoy him and what he has made. How are you enjoying God’s creation together and showing your children God’s glory in his handiwork? God also wants us to enjoy our families, to laugh together, to rejoice together, and love one another. How does your family love and enjoy one other?
What kind of family identity are you creating in your family?