And though I do not want to change who is in my family (or at least I will not admit otherwise on the world wide web), I must say over the past few weeks I have been a little annoyed with some of my familial ties. Now, I must admit the things that have occurred are not earth shattering, will not test the adage of "blood being thicker than water", but it just makes you say, "Really?"
For instance, my father went on a business trip to another country. I was the last to know he was going - as in a day before he was scheduled to leave.
My sister had my niece dedicated this past weekend. I found out literally 25 minutes before the service started - and no, we do not attend the same church.
Another sister went on two mini-vacations in the past few weeks. I found out about both of them when she text messaged the family to "remind" us she was leaving - as she was sitting on the tarmac waiting for the plane to take off.
Interestingly enough, last week a I heard a sermon that referenced family ties and a different one this past weekend. It made me re-think how I view my familial bonds.
"Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you;" (Genesis 12:1 NASB).
That passage tells Abram, who will be renamed Abraham, to leave his family and follow after God. My Bible readers know how that story ends, Abraham left his family, became great, his descendants are innumerable and he is now looked upon as the "father" of the world's three largest religions.
Need some New Testament?
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26 NASB)
That is written in red in my Bible, so that means this is Jesus talking.
So, is Jesus advocating hatred? Of course not. But He does make the point that no relationship should be above the relationship you have with Him. To make His point, He references our closest ties. Family.
Now, before you think I'm going to renounce having any family at all or that I am going to declare war on my family because I have decided to "hate" them - let me explain what I have been rethinking.
The Bible is actually replete with references of leaving family on some level, so it must be something God is concerned about. Peter told Jesus in exasperation that they (the disciples) literally indeed left everything, including family, to follow after Him. Jesus told a few people who wanted follow after Him they needed to leave their family. Those that sought to be mentored by the prophets in the Old Testament were told to leave family. To be in a marital relationship we are told to leave family ...
I could specifically list many examples, but this blog entry would be too long.
So, if we have these examples all throughout scripture what is it that we need to take from it?
Be sure that we are putting God first.
No one can come before God.
Yes, we have responsibilities. Yes, we have to function within our families - but not at the expense of our relationship with God.
We cannot be so caught up in what is or isn't going on in our families that we neglect spending time in God's word and prayer - quality time.
We cannot be so concerned with our family's opinion of us that it causes us to be embarrassed by or alter our walk with God.
We cannot be so willing to do whatever our family wants us to do, especially if it causes us to stumble or compromise standing firm on the Word of God.
I have to let go of annoyances, frustrations, and disappointments so that I can flourish in God's will for my life, not my family's will.
I have to consciously, Put. God. First.
If we call ourselves disciples, followers of Christ, Jesus asks no less from us than He did from those who walked with Him 2000 years ago. Make sure He is front and center, and all other familial ties will fall in place as they should.
"Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:29, 30 NASB)
Just Around the Corner,