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Thinking of Others – Our Friends and Family

Our focus scripture, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  Php 2:3 ESV

In part three of this six part series, we shall look at our focus scripture as, “In humility count our friends and family more significant than ourselves”.  This can be most difficult at times, especially when it comes to family.  There is an old saying, “We can choose our friends, but not our family.”  This is very true.  Many times, family members can get on our nerves.  They may become very demanding  or cantankerous.  However, this should not be a statement made by us who call ourselves Christians.  It has the idea of not wanting to be around them, desiring to only pick those that make us happy or, at the least, do not make our lives difficult.  However, no matter how difficult our friends and family get, we do not have the luxury of saying good riddance.

I shall be looking at this from two different perspectives, those friends and family who are saved, and those who are not.  They are very similar in many ways, but there is a slight nuance that I feel is important to bring out.

First, let us look at those who are not saved.  We all have friends and family members who do not know Christ and the forgiveness He has offered, or they know of Him and choose not to believe.  We all love them, but we should love them so much that we will be a light to them, showing them, through our lives the truth of the Gospel.  And we should do this even when they do not wish to hear the words anymore.  There is a quote that has been attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, however, it has been questioned whether he actually said this.  However, the quote still applies and shows how we are to respond to those who are unsaved.  “Preach the Gospel always; if necessary use words.”  We must always show the truth of the gospel by how we live.  However, sometimes our friends and family members do not wish to hear about the gospel because it was either presented improperly or in a way that did not convince them it was real.  Therefore, at these times, we must let our lives do the talking.  We show our love to them by just loving them, showing them the reality of the Christian walk by how we live it out ourselves.  We should take the time to pray for them any chance we get.  God can open their hearts and prepare them to hear the words as well.  And we must never give up on them.  Remember, God never gave up on us when we were in sin, and we should never give up on those whom we know are unsaved.  We should be willing to sacrifice our desires, time and whatever else for them because they worth everything to us.  Christ gave up His position in Heaven, became a man, and died a horrific death, because we were worth it to Him. We must live as though there salvation is more important to us than anything else, even our life itself.

As for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, the focus is different, however, our passion should be the same.  We should love them so much that we would sacrifice everything for them as well.  However, since they are saved, it will not be to show them the way of salvation.  Life is not always easy as a Christian.  The enemy does not want our life to be easy.  He wants to make it so difficult that we turn away from Christ.  He will tempt us in those areas we are most weak.  He will bring troubles and trials our way to discourage us.  There are times when we will grow weary and stop doing those things God has called us to.  It is good to remember the words of Paul when he said,  “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”  1 Thes 5:14.  We are called to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.  To help them through the tough times.  When our brother is weeping, comfort him.  When your sister is mourning, come beside her and mourn with her.  Do what is needed to lift them up and help them through these difficult times.

Jesus spoke of this also in Mat 25.  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.””  Mat 25:31-46.  When we see our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering, it is our responsibility to help them in any way we can, whether it be with food, drink, hospitality, clothing, comfort or company.  If we see them struggling and do nothing to help them, how can we say we really love them?  I would posit the idea that we cannot truly say that.

In conclusion, remember what James said to the Church where he ministered.  “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?”  Jas 2:15-16.  This is the actions of someone who talks the talk, but does not walk the walk.  And this is not counting our friends and family above ourselves.  We as Christians need to strive to put others ahead of ourselves.  That is true love.  If we are to be truly Christ-like, then we can do nothing less.  Let’s all of us work to be a witness to the lost and an encourager to the body.  Let us help meet the needs of all those God places in our path.  We have no idea what God will do through us when we give ourselves completely to His work.

 

 

 

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