September 25, 2023

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

-Exodus 20:12

Over the last year and a half, since I began these devotions, I have mentioned the Baptist Bikers of Kentucky several times.  These men and women are an extension of my family, they have helped me grow in my faith and become more bold in sharing Christ with others.  One of these brothers, specifically, has had a profound impact on the man I am, compared to the man that I once was.  

The motorcycle community is filled with these familial bonds.  We connect with a group of people that we enjoy riding with, spending time with, and we develop special, meaningful relationships with them.  Just this week, I was speaking to a group of bikers that were occupying a few campsites across from my own.  There were nine of them and they meet up in Pigeon Forge, TN a couple of times each year to spend a week or two riding the mountains.  This group, I came to find out, are not related by blood, they simply developed this bond years ago.  They come from all over, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Michigan.  At the core, they just enjoy each others company and they have shared life together.

I was contacted by my great-aunt, Marcella, about possibly leading a devotion at our upcoming family reunion and I will credit her with the inspiration for this devotion that you are reading now.  She wanted me to talk about family and that is when the lightbulb went off for a new Biker Devotional as well.  Family is important to us, family is important to God.

The Bible tells of how God created family and how family is at the very heart of all of our relationships.  We can always come back to our family, no matter what the world throws at us. Our chosen “families” are important to us, but the Bible focuses specifically on the family that is bound in blood, the generations of ancestors that shaped who we are and where we are in this world.

God provides plenty of valuable instruction, in His word, on how important family is and how a family should be led.  In Proverbs 1:8,9 we find these words:

“Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.”

-Proverbs 1:8,9

As a parent, you have a duty to your children to teach them and to instruct them.  One of the greatest things we can do for our children is to point them toward Christ.  I know, if you are like me, you have made your share of mistakes as a parent, you have regret that you will carry with you for the rest of your life, but it is not too late to restore those relationships with your children, to lead them anew in the right direction.  Again, Proverbs provides us with very clear instructions on this matter:

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

-Proverbs 22:6

We have a distinct obligation to our family, any one of us can step up and fill the void that others may leave.  Ultimately the responsibility falls to the head of the household, the head of the household should lead the family and point them towards the teachings of the Bible.  We see this in the words of Paul:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

-Ephesians 6:4

We also see this in God’s own words to His people in the book of Deuteronomy:

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

-Deuteronomy 6:6,7

When we put God at the center of our family, we build an unshakeable bond with those most dear to us and through our own salvation by grace through faith, we set an example in all that we do that extends beyond our family.  Others will see the Christ-centered family as a testimony that endures the trials and tribulations of life.  Within our family relationships, we show our priorities and our perspective on life. We reveal how we handle responsibility and whether or not we keep our promises. We show if we are people of compassion, truly caring for others instead of just being concerned about ourselves. And we demonstrate if we are trustworthy.

While our friends may become like a family to us, they will not replace the Biblical definition of a family.  Of course this does not preclude us from impacting those chosen families in the same manner we have been granted to influence our biological families.  That is a topic for another devotion, I believe.  We should pray with our family, pray for our family.  We should share in worship together, we should love unconditionally.  We should read God’s Word together, within the pages of the Bible we find instructions for our marriages, raising children, and for growing closer to one another as we each draw closer to Christ.  Nothing can replace our family, the members of our family should be our first priority when we set out to lead others to Christ.  Focus on your family, strengthen the bonds, build the love, and circle them around God, He will be faithful and He will keep His promises.  He has called us to a life that demands difficult things from us, such as grace-filled love for those people He has given us, the same love He has demonstrated to us Himself. He will provide for you all the courage, strength, power, and grace you need. He longs to help you love your family into restoration. Have patience with them. Pray constantly for them. And love them as your Lord Jesus has loved you: passionately, faithfully, and gracefully.  We can turn the tide, we can change our family history.  We have a choice to make.

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

-Joshua 24:15

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