Once every month for about four months so far, the men at Redeemer’s Grace Church have been coming together to hear one another preach through 2 Timothy. Click here to read Joon Park’s faithful exposition of 2 Timothy 1:8-12. After the message, a devotional will be shared as a means of mutual encouragement. So far we’ve covered God as our first priority, God in our personal lives and God in our finances. All of these are meant to highlight the fact that our commitment to God is first and foremost. This must be true in every situation and every relationship that we have. In every aspect of our lives, God must be our first priority. Here are couple verses that remind us of this truth.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
-Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
-Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)
My topic of choice is God in Our Family. I believe that one of the most important ministries I have is to my nonbelieving family and I want to share that with you. And I will be honest. My ministry to my nonbelieving family members has been one filled with discontent, bitterness, and at times even anger. Yet through it all, I am still continually reminded of God’s grace. I am reminded that His desire is for all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4). In the times when I feel discontent, I find comfort in 2 Timothy 2:13 which reminds us that although we are faithless, God remains faithful, first to His character and then to us.
My desire to share this comes out of my own personal testimony. Unlike some, I was not born into a family where God was a priority. God was the furthest thing from my mind up until I started attending church, albeit irregularly, around the beginning of high school. Since making that salvation decision during my freshman year of college, it has been a constant struggle trying to maintain a good witness with my family. And at times I’ve even found myself being discontent because my family did not seem to be a part of those chosen for the kingdom. This post is not a “how to”; you may have expected sections on witnessing to different family members. I did not do that for a variety of reasons:
The first is that such a rigid formula cannot be applied to every single situation. There are so many other themes that go beyond any specific relationship.
The second reason is that I share this not just to those with nonbelieving family but also as a means to encourage those with believing family members as well. My hope is that I can encourage all, no matter their family background, to remain faithful to the gospel message. To be salt and to be light at all times. To always be seeking to share the truth of the gospel, even to those that have already heard it or Lord willing believe in it.
The third and main reason is that our ministries to nonbelieving family need to be more about God and the gospel than about individual family relationships. It is about how God created the family unit and how it was meant to be a good thing.
Our families are a blessing and at times a burden. The statement that “there is no drama like family drama” is a most definite truth. Have you ever wondered why this is so? Christian author Randy Newman says this: “God’s design for the family is so important, so profound, and so powerful that the devil points his most potent weapons at this most crucial target.” God created the family unit as a beautiful thing and the devil knows this. He employs a whole host of devices to destroy the family. Have you ever heard of the term “dysfunctional family”? Just the usage of that term reveals the success the evil one has had in the deprecation of the family! Since when are families meant to just be merely “functional”? Those words are more befitting machines than the living breathing family created in God’s image. Family then is something to be treated with reverence because it is divinely ordained and not some culturally constructed idea that needs to be tolerated and functional. In fact, thinking upon the family even more, we can see that it is rooted in the Trinitarian relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit. Even those titles display the importance of the family to God! Why else would He call himself titles that are related to the family? Here we arrive at two truths about the family. Family is both relational and selfless. We see this because the relationship between all three persons of the Trinity is those two things. Relational in that all three persons seem to interact with one another such as when all things were created (notice the “us” and the “our” in Genesis 1:26). And selfless in that all three persons seem to be focused on glorifying each other and this is revealed throughout the Gospel of John (John 17:1, John 16:13-14, John 8:49).
So let me reiterate this important point. Our evangelism to our families, no matter how unsuccessful in our eyes, have more to do with God and the power of the gospel than with us and our efforts. And lastly I want to convey a theme of hope. Hope is something we need to have in our current age of cynicism and pragmatism. For in our hope we reveal a faith in God and His promises. We do not know who has been chosen by God, but our duty lies not in the knowing but in the going and the preaching.