The secret to a happy family

May 23-27


Be in Christ

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, – Philippians 2:1 (ESV)

After being married for over 50 years, a man revealed the secret to his successful marriage.  He said, “Well, the wife and I had this agreement when we first got married.  When she was bothered about something, she would just tell me and get it off her chest.  And if I was mad about something, I would just take a long walk outside.  I Suppose you could attribute our successful marriage to the fact that I have mostly led an outdoor life.”  This man was committed to a happy family. 

The Bible was written to real people with real problems. The church at Philippi was a good church, but it wasn’t perfect. They had conflict and the solution to their conflict was unity. Paul began his discussion on unity by asserting that if they were in communion with the Trinity they should pursue unity. If they had any encouragement in Christ (God the Son), any comfort from love (likely God the Father’s love), and any participation in the Spirit (God the Spirit), they could achieve unity. Because the Christian receives encouragement from Christ, he can encourage others.


How has Jesus shown you encouragement, love, and made you feel welcome? How have you shown encouragement, love, and made your family feel welcome lately?


Thank Jesus for inviting you into His family. Ask God to allow your family to be a reflection of your relationship with Christ


Be United

complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind – Philippians 2:2 (ESV)

There was a story about the turtle who wanted to come to Florida for the winter? He knew he could never walk all the way, so he talked to the two ducks who shared his pond. They were better equipped for long-distance travel. He found a piece of stout cord and persuaded each of them to take an end while he, with his strong jaws, held on in the center. It was a pleasant flight and everything was going as planned until someone on the ground looked up and said with admiration. “Who in the world thought of that?” Unable to restrain the impulse to take full credit for the idea, the turtle opened his mouth to say, “I did.”

Paul’s goal for the church was to be unified and to accomplish God’s mission together  “…by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” To be like-minded literally means, “To think the same thing.” To have the “same love” gets to our feelings and our unconditional commitment to every Christian, whether we like them or not. And to be “one in spirit and purpose” touches on how we relate to one another spiritually. The Greek is helpful here because this phrase literally means, “same-souled.” It’s not enough to just think good thoughts or even to have warm fuzzy feelings; we must also have our souls joined together in one purpose; that of bringing glory to God by getting the gospel out.


Warren Wiersbe uses J.O.Y. as an acrostic to help us see the importance of putting the needs of others first. “J” stands for Jesus first. “O” is for others. “Y” is for yourself last. When have you experienced joy as a result of our Second family being unified in something we’ve been led by God to do?


Praise God for the things we’ve been able to accomplish as a church together. Ask God to grow the unity we have in our church family and in your family.


Be Selfless

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceitbut in humility count others more significant than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

A secular psychologist did a study in which he asked his subjects to list ten people he knew best and to label them as happy or not happy. Then they were to go through the list again and label each one as selfish or not selfish, using the following definition of selfishness: “A stable tendency to devote one’s time and resources to one’s own interests and welfare–an unwillingness to inconvenience one’s self for others.” The results showed that all of the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish. He wrote that those “whose activities are devoted to bringing themselves happiness … are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy.” (How to Counsel from Scripture)

D.L. Moody said, “Selfishness is tearing others down and vain conceit is building ourselves up.” Any family or church is destined for conflict when its members allow personal ambition to come before the mission of the church or the good of the entire family. 


Would you consider yourself a happy person in general? Would you consider yourself a selfless person in general?


Thank God for a few of the ways He has been generous to you. Ask God to show you anywhere your personal ambition may be creating problems in your relationships.



Be Humble 

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

C.S. Lewis remarked that pride is by nature competitive: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others” (Mere Christianity, 122). Pride destroys unity.

The word “humility” really means “lowliness of mind.”  In lowliness of mind, Christians are to consider others better than themselves. Believers were to be other-centered in all things, humbly counting others more significant than themselves. Humility is the glue that holds a church together. The more humble Christians are, the more unified the church can be. 


Each Christian must realize that all he has is by the grace of God and if he is in any way superior to another Christian, it is all God’s doing (1 Cor. 4:7:  For who makes you different from anyone else?  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?). How does pride rob your love and compassion for others? How might you consider others more important than yourself?


Praise God for the unique gifts He has given you and given members of your family. Ask God to show you a tangible way you can show appreciation for one of their gifts


Be Interested in Others

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

A rabbi dreamed he had been given the opportunity to see both heaven and hell. He was directed to a closed door and informed that hell existed beyond the doorway. As he entered the room he was surprised to see a banquet hall that was set for a feast. Everything was exquisitely prepared but all of the diners moaned and wailed in agony. In the center of the table was a mouthwatering dish of food and each person had a very long spoon set beside them. The spoon was long enough for one to dish out the food, but too long to reach one’s mouth. Consequently, they were unable to eat and were shrieking with pains of hunger! The horror was more than the rabbi could bear, so he asked to leave.

When he opened the door to heaven he was petrified to see the same scene. Everything was the same. There was an incredible table set with the finest china, and a mouth-watering dish of food in the center, and long spoons all around. Only here, in heaven, laughter replaced the pitiful cries. The difference in the two places? Those in heaven did not cry over their inability to feed themselves. They simply celebrated the privilege of feeding each other with the same long spoons. You could say, then, that serving others is a way to bring a taste of heaven to earth.

It goes against our nature to think of others.  We all tend to be by nature very selfish people.  We tend to be mostly concerned about one person – “me”.God wants us to be concerned for the other person and not just thinking about what we’re going to get out of a relationship.


If we are looking after the interests of others, we would have very few conflicts.  One pastor suggests some searching questions that each of us should ask…

  • Do I love to argue too much?
  • Do I worry whether others recognize my contributions?
  • Am I secretly envious of others?
  • Do I sometimes rejoice at the misfortunes of others?
  • Am I quick to criticize those who are different from me?
  • How much time do I spend talking about myself?
  • Do I do more talking than listening?


Thank God for the people in your life who seem genuinely interested in you. Ask God to open your eyes to the needs of someone else today.