by: FCC Staff
Family is of utmost importance in the life of believers. Throughout scripture, familiar terms are used to describe the relationship between God, Himself and his creation: Father, Son, Children, sons, daughters etc. In the ancient Near East, your biological family wasn’t just for love and companionship. They were your workforce, your army, your social welfare system, your educational system and your retirement plan.
Today we think in terms of “church family” and this is an appropriate response to our relationship with God and with others. There was a situation in Jesus ministry where he defined this relationship very well, “While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50) Our spiritual family is the truest family we have.
Not that Jesus was choosing one over the other. No he showed great concern for his mother even as he suffered and died for the sins of the world on the cross. “but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:25-27) So not only does Jesus ensure his mother’s future care in his absence, he does so by establishing a mother and son relationship, rooted in their spiritual ties to one another.
And Paul certainly doesn’t pull any punches in instructing Timothy in how believers are to care for their families, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
And while it is true not all of us enjoy healthy, supportive relationships with our biological families, we can relate to the psalmist when he says, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.” (Psalm 27:10) God provides us with all we need, and we are adopted in to a large, global family when we accept our place in God’s will for our lives.
Nothing is more tragic then when the enemy comes to sow division amongst family. On the list of things that God hates from Proverbs 6, “ one who sows discord among brothers” is the thing that sums up the list. Paul told the Roman church, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” (Romans 16:17) There are many things that can divide families nowadays, both biological and spiritual, and we need to be on guard against anything that would cause us to be divided. We cannot make peace in the world if we are at war in our own homes.
Family is one of the greatest blessings from God. In Christ, our families become a source of many of the things we desire and need from God. So today, let’s not allow external factors, politics, finances, differing opinions on minor issues or quite simply, pride, to sow destruction in our families. We are blessed when we are peacemakers. Both in our own homes and churches, and in the wider world as well.
Prayer for Today
Father than you so much for my family. For giving me people I can count on to be there for me as I trust you to be, to love, support and guide me. Let me be blessed to see my faith pour out into others, so I may have many spiritual bothers, sisters, children and parents. Jesus, show me how to follow your Father, and bring honor to my earthly parents as well. By your Holy Spirit open my eyes to all the blessings the family you have provided for me brings to my life, so I may pour my love into them in turn. Amen.