The Family Pillars: Faith and Example
by Drenda Keesee
The third pillar of the family is faith because the family unit loses its impact when it’s apart from God. Your children need to grow up experiencing God in their life.
And the fourth pillar, which may be the most underestimated, is the example. Example whittles down to the very core of your family’s foundation: what your children experience speaks louder than your words. Example covers anywhere from the example you set for your children at home, or from your children experiencing a relationship with God and His faithfulness for themselves.
I combine the third and fourth pillars because…
…whenever you combine faith and example, you get one of the most powerful of principles: faith by example. It’s one thing to tell your children about God, but when they experience God in their life and witness faith in action, it’s the most life-changing experience available. Your example of faith in the life of your children can change the whole picture.
Gary’s father, Tom, was a cynical man who never hesitated to voice his disapproval of God or the church. It got to the point where we avoided talking about the ministry around him at all costs. Gary said he didn’t know if he had the faith for his father to get saved—his father was so opposed to the gospel and so hard-hearted that Gary couldn’t see beyond that. What could Gary say that would make a difference? There were no words to reach him. We’d used them all.
Years went by, and nothing changed. Gary and I continued in ministry and started broadcasting on television. Gary still couldn’t imagine his father saved. He kept praying that God would send someone else to minister to his father, but there was no hint of change. In a huge turn of events, when Gary’s father was eighty years old, he came to church on a Sunday morning, gave his life to the Lord, and made the most dramatic transformation we have ever seen. He went and apologized to everyone he had ever wronged in his life and was a different man from that day forward. For the next three years of his life he attended church almost every weekend and shared the good news of God, and he went home to be with his Lord at the age of eighty-three.
So why did he come to church on that Sunday? What made a man who critically attacked faith much of his life suddenly decide to give his life to the Lord? We didn’t know it, but Tom had been watching our television broadcast for months! He started watching his son tell stories of healing, restoration, and financial turnarounds. He had witnessed our lives as we went from poverty and mounds of debt to provision. He witnessed our daughter healed of a tumor overnight, losing thirteen pounds and nine inches in her waist instantly. When someone asked him why he finally decided to give his heart to Christ, he simply replied, “I saw too much that I couldn’t explain.”
Faith by example. It’s a powerful combination.
When words can’t reach someone, it is the evidence of God’s goodness that catches people’s attention. You can preach to your children around the clock, but the example you are portraying speaks louder than your words. Your greatest testimony in life is often not the story you tell with words, but the one you tell through what you do. You can minister to others simply by living your life according to God’s Word. There’s an old quote that says, “Actions prove who someone is. Words prove who they want to be.”
Joseph in the Bible put this principle into action. Growing up, he was the favorite son of his father in a large family, and his brothers despised him for it. One day they captured him and sold him into slavery. Taken to Egypt, Joseph worked as a slave in Potiphar’s house and so excelled that he was put in charge of the household. But when Joseph denied the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife, she falsely accused him and had him thrown into prison with a life sentence. Without any hope of getting out of the prison, Joseph continued to portray faith by example and was put in charge of managing the prison.
People can’t deny the evidence of faith and the fruit of faithfulness. Joseph’s day came when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and was elevated to Pharaoh’s right-hand man who oversaw all of Egypt. Joseph’s life ministered to all around him, including his brothers when they came to Egypt for food. They found out that he was now the second highest ranked man in Egypt, and Joseph was able to minister to the very people who tried to destroy him—all because his life was an example of his faith. You see, people can’t argue against the evidence of faith. That is why you need to have that principle working on your behalf in your family.
The foundation you build your family on defines the kind of structure that can rise out of that foundation. The priorities you establish with your children in action speak louder than the priorities you talk about. You can declare the importance of attending church, but do you consistently attend church? Your actions set the bar.
These powerful principles will transform your life. Ask God for wisdom as we move forward in identifying areas to grow in and impart into your family.
Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.