Organizing the Inside 365 Days

Empowering Christian Women To Get Organized and Discover God's Plan for Their Lives

Archive for Family

Organizing the Inside – Day 345 When Family Decides Not To Serve God

32“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Matthew 10:32-36 (NIV)

Ultimately we all want what’s best for our family. We have brothers, sisters and other close family members whom we’ve spent years of our lives sharing and growing with. But what happens when you choose to serve God, and your family could seemingly care less? Or perhaps they started out walking with you and somehow they’ve decided to go another way?  Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? Amos 3:3 (NIV) Where does this leave the family bond? We know that family meant a lot to Jesus, but we also realize that He never put family before His relationship with God, and His mission to serve Him. Matthew 12:47-50

Jesus came to bring a sword, not peace. It takes a bold Christian to agree with Christ regardless of what family and friends choose. When Jesus is introduced into the family dynamics it will be decision time. Some will say yes to being sold out for Christ. Others will reject God’s free gift of salvation and make the choice to serve their sinful nature instead. While you choose to make Him Lord, there will be those in your family who choose to go against your Christian lifestyle and reject everything you know to be true about God.

Christian commitment may separate family and friends. You must be willing to take a stand for God, no matter who disagrees. Especially for those who are in close-knit families, your choice to live for God and follow the way of Christ may leave you standing alone. No one is suggesting you abandon your family, but if you are following Christ and they aren’t, you will indeed have to make some tough choices. The calling of God is to a higher mission and although we have peace on the inside, a peaceful life without conflict is far from what He’s called us to have. That kind of thinking makes the gospel appear uncertain. The choice must be clear and we cannot present an, “I’m okay; you’re okay. We are all God’s children… let’s have world peace.” kind of false gospel and expect people to choose LIFE. 7Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody.8And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle? 1 Corinthians 14:7, 8 (NLT) If you choose Christ you will inevitably find yourself in conflict with the world. The Christian life we’ve chosen is by no means a tip-toe through the tulips way of living.

Have you ever had to make the hard choice of following Christ and it meant going against your family? If so, find comfort in knowing that your decision to stand up for Jesus will be rewarded. Although close friends and family deny the truth, we have confidence in Christ. 32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 10:32, 33 (KJV) Not unlike many of your Christian comrades you at one time or another have had to make the decision to stay on the right path and do so in spite of what everyone else chose. Jesus makes the matter plain. 37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37, 38 (NIV)

Organizing the Inside – Day 341 A Joy In Serving

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Philippians 2:1, 2 (NIV)

Have you ever needed a friend to carry your load? Have you ever been in a place where you felt you couldn’t pray for yourself? A time when whatever you were going through seemed almost overwhelming and you needed someone close to carry your burden for a while. Be ready to step in and hold one another up in prayer. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

What a rewarding joy it is to be there for a sister in need. Paul often addressed the importance of Christians sharing, supporting and encouraging each other. To thrive as a Christian community it’s necessary for us to genuinely care for each other and not allow the enemy to create dissension.  We ought to consider our true brothers and sisters and take care of one another. 48Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 50Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!Matthew 12:48-50 (NLT)

When you know your Christian sister is going through a trial, look for ways to help carry her burden. Sometimes a prayer or word of encouragement is all that is needed to help lighten a load. Remember … A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

Organizing the Inside – Day 147 My Dysfunctional Family

34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:34-39

I honestly have never met a family that was perfectly functional.
I just don’t believe I have. I’m sure there may be one out there; I just haven’t met them yet. Most every family has someone, either a parent, a child, or Uncle Bill who made getting along difficult, for everyone else. Perhaps you have an auntie who always seems to mind everyone else’s business or tries to buy favor with her lavish gift giving. Maybe there is a cousin who usually brings huge drama along with her latest, barely there malfunctioning wardrobe to every family gathering. Whatever the case, whether it’s alcoholism, substance abuse, immoral, illicit or illegal activities which some family members are participating in, we have the responsibility of loving them with the love of Christ.

Loving and participating are two separate things.
I know many Christians feel like I once did, that no matter what kind of foolishness my family might be involved in, they’re still my family and I need to attend every family activity. These family gathering always were filled with someone creating drama by pulling a predictable, yet slightly different performance from our last gathering. I justified my choice to attend, with scriptures about how Jesus hung out with the tax collectors. I realize now that my way of thinking was somewhat flawed. Since then I’ve learned that it is far more meaningful to pray for opportunities to minister to those family members God would have me to minster to; on a one-on-one basis, or in a slightly more controlled environment can be far more effective. Along the way I’ve come to realize that I am called to be a witness, and I’m not called to be the savior of my people. This simple revelation freed me from experiencing guilt; on those occasions I declined an invitation to join another family event.

Putting family before God will surely send you down the wrong path.
God expects us to love our family. Nevertheless God still wants first place ranking in our lives whether our family members are saved, have a form of godliness or are just downright ungodly. He also wants us to witness to help bring those who don’t know Him to Christ. There are however, times when one has to choose. Yes choose, whether the stress, pressure and pain that is sometimes caused by being around dysfunctional family members is what God would have us to do. We can love them and pray about the right, appointed opportunities to minister to them. Maybe you’re thinking I love my family and I can’t stop being close to them.  I am by no means suggesting you kick your family to the curb nor am I saying you should stop being around them. I am however suggesting you take a look at those relationships that are stressful, ineffective and bringing you down. I believe God has the wisdom to guide us in what to do about our conflicting relationships with family. I’m only suggesting (one considers making what might be a tough choice for some) putting God first and not choosing your relationships with family over your relationship with the Lord.

This isn’t about legalism; this is about serving God with purpose on purpose.
There are those of us who put family and friends (that are as close as family) before God. We don’t want to offend, break years of tradition or ruffle anyone’s feathers, so we make the choice to continue to do what we’ve always done. When it comes to parents, honoring your parents was the first commandment that included a promise. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12 Honoring your parents, no matter what they think of your Christianity is nonnegotiable, if you intend to obey the commandments of God. What that honor looks like is also between you and God. The dynamics of having a good solid relationship with family members who, either aren’t Christians, or aren’t very loving, or even perhaps are abusive is something God will give you wisdom about.  If you and I put God first, we do well, and the law is fulfilled in our hearts.  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5

The Word of God is clear; Jesus came to bring a sword.