Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ

Being for your family – a post from Steph Shrager

Ever since I made the decision to follow Jesus, I think the one of the greatest transformations that has happened in my life has been the restoration of relationship with my family. Of course, I’m not perfect at it. I wish I was, but the truth is I’m not there yet. However, I think it is important that we, as believers, have an accurate mindset of the purpose and design of family—and also that we would understand the importance of showing unconditional love to them.

Spiritual Model for Family

In order to understand what an earthly family should look like, I think that we should first take a look at what the family of God models for us in scripture. Through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, God has created an eternal family for all those who believe and trust in Him. This family isn’t made up of biological relatives—no, this family is the Church! We have been adopted into God’s family, and He calls us His children. We see proof of this fact in Ephesians 1:5, which says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bring us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” He also commands us to love one another, be unified, and take care of each other. Romans 12:10-13 commands us to, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and continue to show hospitality.”

All of these things that Paul talked about in Romans about what the family of God looks like are vital to a healthy and strong family. However, one simple word sums up how the family of God should operate—love!

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

So if this is what God’s family looks like, what should our earthly families look like? If we believe and follow Jesus, then we agree on the fact that as Christians we are called to follow Christ and become more like Him in this process called sanctification. Sanctification is basically just becoming what God has created you to be. So, in order to grow as a follower of Christ, we should be living according to his design and teachings for us—that means we must reflect God in the way that we view and treat our families.

Family is an incredible gift from God—but also an enormous challenge. Loving people becomes infinitely more difficult when you spend the majority of your time with them. An intentional commitment must be made to each other in order to love even when you are very aware of each other’s imperfections and flaws. This kind of love reflects the way our Heavenly Father loves us despite our sins.

Loving Your Family Daily

So far, we’ve talked a lot about loving our families, but what does that love look like in a practical sense? How can we love our families in the way we interact with them day-to-day? Let’s take a look at God’s definition of love:

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4–7

After you’ve read that passage, read it again—this time thinking about it from the perspective of loving your family.

This verse says that love is patient and kind—this means we are called to have patience with our family even when we don’t see eye to eye. Instead of a tone of frustration, communicate with kindness. Love doesn’t let jealousy or pride get in the way of relationships. Love doesn’t demand its own way, so be selfless and make an effort to put the needs of your family above your own. Love is not easily angered—be understanding with each others flaws. Rejoice in truth by not keeping secrets or hiding things from your family. Never give up on your family—pray for them continually, encourage them, and believe in them. Love endures through every circumstance. Every circumstance. There is no circumstance in which family does not endure.

The Challenge

I know that we all have unique family dynamics and specific struggles within our family relationships, but no matter our situation, this right here is God’s definition of love. Let’s be committed as a group of young adults to bring this kind of love into our family relationships. It’s not easy—it definitely won’t happen by accident, but family relationships are too important to neglect.

Really the point I’m trying to make with this blog post is to love your family even when it isn’t easy. Love them even when you don’t agree on important issues. Love them even if they’ve wronged you in the past. Love them even when they don’t meet you expectations. Love them even if they want nothing to do with you. Love them even if they’ve betrayed your trust. Love them even if you’ve been shutting them out for years. Love them even when it seems like you’re the only one doing the loving.

Let’s follow Christ’s example of love, and love our families the way God intended us to.

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