Originally published on the Loving the Lord Blog on March 21, 2013.
I am the oldest of four siblings - three sisters ages 12-19, and an eight year old brother. Over the past few years, the Lord has really opened my eyes to see His incredible plan for my sibling relationships and the amazing opportunity I have to influence my siblings for good. Our sibling relationships are often the longest relationships we have, since we know our siblings our entire life. Siblings are also special because they are hand-picked by God, just for us!
So what does God intend for our sibling relationships? If you’ve grown up in Christian circles like me, you’ve probably heard lots of good teaching on learning to get along with your siblings. And maybe, like I did, you think that you already have a pretty good relationship with your siblings. But two years ago, a friend challenged me with the words, “You need to do more than just not fight with your siblings. You need to be discipling them.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. From that day on, I looked at my sibling relationships in a whole new light.
The Lord began to show me that He had more in mind for us than “not fighting” and even more than “having fun times”. I actually needed to embrace the responsibility of truly loving them, which meant caring about how they were doing spiritually… in other words, discipling them. The exciting thing is that discipleship is the most important work that Christians are called to do! Right before Christ ascended to heaven, He left His disciples with one last command, which is what we call the great commission:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “…go and make disciples of all nations, …teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus Christ tells us that discipleship is the work that He has left us here to do. That’s my job from Christ, and it starts right in my own family. I not only get the privilege of sharing their lives, but of helping to shape them into the people that they will become.
So what does it take to be