Give your family over to God, prayers for releasing anxiety
There aren’t many situations more difficult for Christians to face than those involving choosing God over family. Consider the following:
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:
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. :
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:
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.
Similarly, when Jesus spoke to Mary, there’s no record of Him calling her “Mother.” He called her “Woman”:
There were two relationships between Jesus and Mary:
It’s clear which relationship Jesus allowed to trump the other. When situations arise and we have to choose between God or family members, there’s really no choice. Our greatest love and commitment has to be to Christ. Despite the difficulty associated with choosing God over family, we can be encouraged by these blessings:
First, choosing God over family provides a teaching opportunity with our children.
We can share the above verses with our children and explain: “Our greatest love and loyalty has to be reserved for the Lord. That’s why we made this decision.” This allows our children to see our faithfulness to Christ. They might never forget what we’ve done. Hopefully they’ll be encouraged to make the same decision if they face a similar situation.
Second, choosing God over family provides an opportunity to discuss our faith.
We might be able to discuss our faith with the affected (and possibly offended) family members. We can explain, “I’m very sorry that this has hurt you, but as Christians we believe…” Then explain the motivation behind the decision. At best they’ll see where we’re coming from and possibly have a change of heart. At worst they’ll be angry, but at least they’ll remember we had the courage to obey God when it was unpopular.
Third, choosing God over family allows us to demonstrate our love for God.
Finally, and most importantly, being able to choose God over family allows us to demonstrate to God that we love Him. It’s easy to say we love God, but choosing Him over family allows us to demonstrate that truth. Jesus said:
These verses are clearly about having a greater commitment to Christ than even our own family members. When we choose Him over them, we must expect them to be upset with us, which is what Jesus is referring to happening. It’s painful, but it’s also a great privilege.
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