By: Susan Bea Good
The family historically consists of a father, mother, and children. Within this unit are roles and rules…how well these are followed determines its health. In order for these familial relationships to flow properly each member must follow the rules, while fulfilling their own specific role.
God created the family unit when He made Adam and Eve. He placed them in a “home,” knowing children would result. He also made the rules. In the beginning His literal words were the guide. Later He instructed men to write. Now we have the complete and comprehensive guidebook to follow.
I grew up in a family with a Dad, Mom, and four siblings. I now have my own family with a husband and four children. We all benefit when family members follow the rules, and we all suffer when we don’t.
Christ-followers are also members of another “family.” The Bible instructs us to look at one another as siblings, brothers and sisters in Christ. We have a Heavenly Father, and consider Jesus to be our “Brother.” This family is held together by the Spirit and a common faith.
Just as our earthly families succeed when they abide by God’s rules, so too this “spiritual” family has rules meant to accomplish its purpose. Chaos results when the brethren abandon their roles and break the Father’s rules.
I’ve noticed that the brethren struggle just as siblings do in traditional families. We fail at times to encourage one another and build each other up…instead we gossip, compete, denigrate, and disregard our brothers and sisters in Christ, resulting in family dysfunction.
The Apostle Paul’s first letter of instruction to Christ-followers, living then in Thessalonica, included some distinct points for the family: 1. Encourage one another 2. Build each other up 3. Respect one another 4. Accept admonishment from those in authority 5. Esteem and love those who work for your benefit 6. Be at peace among yourselves 7. Admonish your idle sister 8. Encourage your fainthearted brother 9. Be a help to your weaker brother 10. Be patient with every family member 11. Never take revenge or do evil to your brother or sister in Christ! 12. Always look for the good you might do towards the family of God.
Following these instructions will result in the family life God wanted for us all.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” (I Thessalonians 5:11-15/ESV)
The purpose of this blog is to encourage Christ-followers to see God’s Big Picture and be a part of it. Adonai Eloheinu!