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Iíve always struggled alone spiritually, since almost all the people in my family arenít saved. What can I do?

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Iíve always struggled alone spiritually, since almost all the people in my family arenít saved. What can I do?


Steve Answers:

Struggling and being alone are both difficult things. When added together, they make things doubly difficult! I pray that the reality of God will be evident to you, and that you’ll be able to cling to this evidence when the going gets tough. I also pray that you’ll become active in a local community of fellow believers. I’m praying for you, Insight reader, even though I don’t know you by name. I think there are other readers who probably identify with your situation.

When I think of the worst possible time of feeling alone, my mind goes to Christ’s words on the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34). There’s nothing as bad as feeling forsaken by God.

By contrast, it sure is nice to be with other humans who communicate God’s love and acceptance. One of Christ’s own disciples wrote: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (1 John 1:7). If you’re walking with Jesus, then you have fellowship with others who are doing the same thing.

So since the members of your family, your blood relatives, aren’t walking in the light, then you may feel the closeness of family more from the family of God than from your biological relatives. Is there a group of believers near you? I’m not talking about merely going to church. What I’m talking about involves talking honestly with other believers so that you can share what’s on your heart, pray for one another, cry and laugh together, and encourage each other. This is about far more than just going to church.

Once when Jesus taught the crowds, some people told Him that His mother and brothers were outside looking for Him. Jesus responded, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Luke 8:21, NIV).* Please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying you should disown your family if they aren’t following God. What I am saying is that you can experience the closeness that God designed for family in the family of God. The bloodline you share in the family of God may not be from your mom and dad, but it’s from the blood of Christ.

God never designed us to be solo Christians. He called us to be faithful to Him and to join others to become a full body of Christ on earth. If you try to continue your Christian life alone, you are apt to spiritually shrivel up and die. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s likely.

The apostle Paul started a church in Corinth. Both Jews and Gentiles came together and became the body of Christ in this new church (see 1 Corinthians 12:27). But not every member in biological families joined Christ’s body. So some families had believers and unbelievers in the same family.

Paul wrote about this, specifically about whether a spouse should seek a divorce in the case of being married to an unbeliever. He wrote: “If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her” (1 Corinthians 7:12, NIV). Paul mentioned that the same holds true if a “woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her” (1 Corinthians 12:13, NIV). God doesn’t want us to abandon our families because they don’t believe in God as we do. Instead, we are to be a positive presence of God in their lives.

Peter mentioned the same concept when he wrote about a Christian wife and her influence on an unbelieving husband: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (1 Peter 3:1, 2, NIV).

Have you ever heard somebody say, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day”? That’s what Peter was talking about! A lifestyle of goodness, purity, and respect are more winsome than just talk.

However, in that same chapter, Peter did mention that we should also be ready to speak about Christ, but notice how he phrased it: “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV).

Continue to live for Christ and have your actions around your family demonstrate this. Be ready to verbalize your love for Christ and why you live in anticipation of His return. Speak about this when you’re asked to do so, and do it with gentleness and respect.

Again, be sure to be active with a community of fellow believers. You need to do this to keep spiritually alive yourself—to give and to receive spiritual vitality.
Here’s God’s New Testament message to His Old Testament family called the Hebrews: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25, NIV).

*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.



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