Preserving a Distinct Identity

Foundations of the Family

Exercise- Taking Inventory

Prior to the start of this devotion, take time to reflect on how your family life is managed. Create an inventory of how much time you spend together as a family without electronic devices, how many times you gather together at the dinner table, and how much time you spend in prayer, worship, and devotion with your family. It is important that you be extremely open and honest with this process! The goal of this devotion is to become aware of the habits, trends, and activities within your home, especially as it relates to spiritual development and strength. It is recommended that this be done as a family and that it be visited on a daily basis. While habits take much longer than a month to develop, an important foundation can be established upon which your family can frame a successful spiritual future.

Week One: Preserving a Distinct Identity

Take a Look: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 1:8

The Shema, considered to be the essence of the entire collective of God’s covenantal responsibilities, lays a foundation for how the word of God would successfully be transmitted to each following generation. Echoing the words of Joshua 1:8, the Shema underscored the importance that God placed on the preservation of the distinct, called-out nature of the people of God. The success of preserving the distinct identity of God’s people could only be made possible by teaching, a Hebrew word that signifies an engraver who

etches words into stone or granite. This would happen through several various means, but the most important would occur within the home by parents who would communicate the deliverance narratives, covenantal obligations, and various other Laws to their children (Deut. 6:7). In turn, this would lend toward a continual dialogue regarding the words of God and, through vigilance of heart, mind, and practice, God’s words and their identity would be further “etched” into the hearts of their children (6:8-9). Let this resound in your hearts:the responsibility of preserving a holy and distinct identity first begins in the home! The words and works of God were to be taught, discussed, and modeled within the home.

More than this, the family is the place that prepares children to enter into society. In the home, the biblical models of fatherhood and motherhood are to be emulated in such a way that our children enter into adulthood according to an ideal that fits creative design (Matthew 19:4-5). Much of our Apostolic identity is rooted in our distinctive understanding of these creative ideals. It becomes the family’s responsibility to establish a proper model of masculinity and femininity. It becomes the responsibility of the family to establish work ethic, integrity, and a biblically-driven code of ethics that will govern the acts and attitudes of our children in the future.

Proverbs 22:6 commands us to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The only true way to train children in the way they should go is to have them walk that way with you on a consistent basis. Indeed, this is what the word in the Hebrew implies; continual

training. Consider a well-worn path. The path is well-worn because it is traversed on a regular basis. In like fashion, when we make a concerted effort to get our family on a path that lends toward the preservation of a distinct, holy identity, we are walking that same path on a daily basis together. Just as fruit is the result of the process of cultivation so also is the success of a generational legacy of truth. Strong homes are cultivated homes. Strong homes are consistent homes. Strong homes are homes that follow a distinctive path and never veer from that path. The strength of a consistent future is founded on a consistent present.

Challenge for the Family

What are some things that you can do in the home that will establish and preserve the distinct identity and culture of an Apostolic family? What things are you doing to establish a proper model of fatherhood and motherhood? As children in the home, what are you doing to develop and establish key principles of Apostolic identity and culture in your lives? Can you say that your family is consistent in devotions? Can you say that you are consistent in prayer? Good families are the result of intentional efforts. Take this time, as a family, to sit down and be honest with one another. As a father or mother, are you spending enough time with your children without distractions? Again, the home is the place that we are meant to develop our children to enter into society and much of this training can only happen by spending time with each other. Sit down together and develop a scriptural memorization schedule. Memorize scripture together as a family. This week memorize Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and quiz each other throughout the week. Search the scriptures as a family and discuss key

concepts that would be important to establish in your home. The book of Proverbs is a great place to find some of this material.

Pastor Jonathan Shoemake