“And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.’ ” Mark 3:34-35

For most people family isn’t as important to who we are as it used to be. From the days of Noah on forward who you were was directly linked to, and affected by, who your father was and who your brothers and sisters were. But today it’s far easier to disregard family and do your own thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying family isn’t important. I believe that family is still the most powerful factor in influencing our lives. That being said, it’s far easier to read what Jesus said in our focus text and nod our heads in agreement and then live our lives according to this reality we’ve chosen than it would have been for the disciples Jesus had sitting around him. It certainly wasn’t an easy reality for Jesus to live. In traditional Jewish culture family had authority over you, even as an adult, and Jesus was denying them that control over his life.

But this denial of family authority was enacted so that he could acknowledge and follow the direction of the oldest and most central authority in all our lives, God. In his words Jesus wasn’t so much denying family its rightful place as he was returning it to it. Family cannot be a substitute for God. And family ought not have a greater influence in how we live our lives than God and those that follow Him.

This can be a hard reality to embrace. Most of us have spent life times working for the approval and acceptance of family. I know I have. For some, though, the journey to even find family has been a long and hard fought one. But remember this. You have a creator, your Heavenly Father, and he loves you, and he’s been working every day, since long before you were born, to make a way for you to find him. He and those who follow him are in every as legitimately your family as anyone linked to you by DNA. To put God first doesn’t deny family, rather, it acknowledges our oldest relationship. Our relationship to God.

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