In thirty-five years of ministry I have stayed in hundreds of homes both in America and overseas. Three standout. The atmosphere was so distinct that I had to ask, “What makes your family different?” In each case I got the same response-the Holy Spirit.
The parents welcomed the Holy Spirit into their marriage and family. They were intentional to teach the children the nature of the Holy Spirit (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control -Galatians 5:22-23) and that he lives within each member of the family.
Talking of the Holy Spirit was natural in conversation within their marriage, with their children, friends, and guests in their home. To be in their home was an encounter with the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul warns us that if we do not live with the help of the Holy Spirit we will “ . . . bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:14.
What should be the safest place on earth can become a house of devastation. No marriage begins with the intent to devour the other nor does any parent imagine children that hate and destroy.
Here is what love looks like:
- Joy- There is a spontaneous happiness, laughter, and delight among the family members.
- Peace-There is harmony between the husband and wife and an absence of strife, anxiety, or dissension among the family members.
- Patience-Each member of the family shows awareness and regard for another’s feelings and circumstances.
- Kindness-A absence of harshness or severity. The children are kind with one another and kind to each parent. The couple is kind to one another.
- Faithfulness-There is a steadfast fidelity to the Lord, one another, and friends.
- Gentleness-There is an absence of bad temper or belligerence and a deliberate kindness and patience in dealing with one another.
Stephen Covey has observed: “People are very tender, very sensitive inside. I don’t believe age or experience makes much difference. Inside, even within the most toughened and calloused exteriors, are the tender feelings and emotions of the heart.”
- Self-control. The family is marked by the ability to exercise restraint or control over their feelings, emotions, and actions.
 Covey, Stephen “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), p.193.