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When Family Won't Follow

If you are a Faith Leader, someone is following you. If you're a pastor, your congregation follows you. If you're an influencer on social media, your followers follow you. If you're an author, your readers follow you, but what should you do if members of your family won't follow?

Jesus' Family

Most people don't think about this, but Jesus came from a large family. After Jesus' virgin birth, Mary and Joseph had several other children. Some are listed by name in Matthew 13:55-56. It says, is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

Some ministries and businesses begin with tremendous support from family; others do not. Jesus' ministry was part of the latter group; His family did not follow Him while he walked the streets of Jerusalem preaching the kingdom and healing the sick. John 7:5 tells us for neither did his brethren believe in him.

The people who grew up in the same house didn't believe in Jesus' deity until after His resurrection. They didn't believe their half-brother, Jesus, was the long-awaited Messiah, but that didn't stop Jesus from following His Father and fulfilling His purpose.

They Saw Him and Believed

Jesus' family finally believed when they witnessed Him in His resurrected body. 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 says, For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

James and Jude, both half-brothers of Jesus, saw, believed, and became leaders in the church, and both penned letters that became part of canonized Scripture.

Jude's Letter

Jude wrote to first-century believers, urging them to contend for the faith as it was first delivered to them. If you study history, you can see that attitudes, teachings, and practices often develop and change over the years. Knowing this, Jude warned against changing the Gospel to fit their own ends. He admonished readers and followers to guard the faith, preserve the faith, and do all they could to ensure it was passed to subsequent generations with no alteration or modification.

His letter began: Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. (Jude 1:1-2)

Jude, one of the brothers who wanted nothing to do with Jesus while He walked the earth as the Word become flesh, later called himself a servant of Jesus Christ. The word servant is doulus here. It means a slave. Doulus depicts someone who is bound to do the bidding of his Master; his reason for existence is to fulfill his owner's need. Jude, who, as many brothers do, may have belittled or teased Jesus, now was the Lord's slave!

Just Follow God

So, Faith Leader, what should you do if your family doesn't follow? Just follow God. Jesus didn't allow societal pressure (and there is much of that in Jewish culture) to dissuade Him from fulfilling what His Heavenly Father put Him here to do. Obey God. The fruit of your faithfulness will lead many of your family members into God's family, and they may wind up following you as a Faith Leader. Be faithful and keep your eyes on what the Father tells you to do!

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