3 Blessings When Choosing God Over Family

There aren’t many situations more difficult for Christians to face than those involving choosing God over family. Consider the following:

  • A loved one claims to be a believer but wants to marry an unbeliever. So you’re unable to support the relationship.
  • Family members invite your child to stay with them, but you know they’ll be a negative influence on them. So you have to decline.
  • A relative is living in habitual sin and you have to confront the person.

There are examples in the Old Testament of individuals having to choose God over family members. For example, Moses called for the execution of the individuals responsible for the Golden Calf. This meant some Israelites had to kill their own relatives. Exodus 32:27 says:

“Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’”

King Asa was one of the greatest reformers in the Old Testament. When he purged the idolatry from the land, he had to punish even his own grandmother. 1 Kings 15:13 records:

[Asa] removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah.

In both of these situations it would’ve been very easy for those involved to choose loved ones over God.

Jesus is the premier teacher and example when it comes to choosing God over family

Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37; see also Luke 14:26). He taught the closest relationships in His life weren’t with His physical family, but His spiritual family. Matthew 12:46-50 records:

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.”

I tend to think God is repetitive when He wants to make sure we don’t miss something. This account occurs in each synoptic gospel; it’s also in Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 8:19-21. Jesus minimized His earthly relationships to emphasize His spiritual relationships were with those who obey His Father. Continue reading “3 Blessings When Choosing God Over Family”

Obeying and Good Things Happen

We recently finished looking at Simeon and Anna, two appointments that took place in the temple for Joseph and Mary. I wanted to share something that I’ve been thinking about regarding those meetings…

God orchestrated everything through Joseph and Mary’s obedience. What I mean is, Joseph and Mary were at the temple fulfilling their obligations under the Law, and God used that obedience to bring them into contact with Simeon and Anna. It was their obedience that provided the opportunity for these meetings to take place. I think it should encourage us to trust that when we’re obeying God He’s going to use our obedience to orchestrate events and situations in our lives.

Here’s another thought: Joseph and Mary weren’t trying to set up these meetings. All they were thinking about was obeying God. This made me think about how many times I try to make things happen. Sometimes I feel tempted to try to manipulate circumstances instead of just letting God work through my obedience. I feel like I need to help. I end up striving in my own effort when all I really need to do is focus on obedience and leave the results up to God. He doesn’t need my striving or help or effort. Part of walking by faith is just saying, “Lord, I’m going to go about my life and really let you take care of things. I’ll focus on obeying You and I’ll let You focus on everything else.”

Interestingly some of the most trouble I’ve had in my life after becoming a Christian has taken place when I’ve tried to help God. I’ve had problems when I thought I knew what was best. I’ve had problems when I thought I could bring about the best outcome instead of letting God do it. Those are times I didn’t walk by faith. It’s interesting Hebrews 11:6 says it’s actually impossible to please God without faith. That means no matter what I do, no matter how great it looks, if it’s not done in faith it’s not pleasing to God.

Looking back I’m sure if I would’ve just focused on obeying God – like Joseph and Mary were doing – God would’ve taken care of everything else. I probably would’ve saved myself some unnecessary frustration, while also being able to experience the blessings God put in Joseph and Mary’s lives.