Living FOR, rather than just WITH, one another is not merely clever word play. Living FOR one another is a bedrock principle that Jesus taught throughout his ministry. It is the template we are to follow as we live out our lives as members of his Kingdom.
Think of the consequences if God had sent his Son to Earth to just live WITH his people. Could we still benefit from his teachings? Yes. Could we still grow in his wisdom? Yes. Could we be a moral people? Yes. But would we be saved? No.
If Jesus’ earthly ministry was to just live WITH his people, our salvation would be lost. The sacrifice on the cross was made because Jesus came to live and die FOR his people. He did not need to suffer for himself. He did not need redeemed. He needed nothing from us. Jesus’ mission was to take upon Himself that which we so justly deserved. Everything He did, He did FOR us.
That simple message should not be lost on our families. We live in a culture where families are pulled in a thousand different directions. With so many distractions, it’s easy to live in the same house with children and a spouse without really engaging them in deep relationship.
In other words, if we’re not careful, family members could become mere roommates – people whose paths we cross for a few minutes at breakfast and then again at bedtime, but no one with whom we develop any real connection.
So how can we take back our families and develop meaningful relationships with our sons, our daughters, and our spouse?
The Bible gives us several examples of what it looks like to live FOR one another. Here are a few:
Love One Another (John 15:12) – This is a command, not a suggestion. Jesus set the bar high in showing his love for us by taking up our cross. That sacrificial love should radically change the way we love others – especially in our families.
Build Up One Another (Ephesians 4:29) – Paul, the author of Ephesians, reminds us that our words can be used to tear down, or build up. This does not mean we are to be simply “nice” to each other, but we should choose our words wisely so that they strengthen each and every member in our family.
Serve One Another (Galatians 5:13) – When we live in close proximity with others – like our families! – we often see their selfishness. But for every selfish act we see in someone else, we know there is equal, if not more, selfishness that resides in us. God desires that we put other’s needs in front of our own so that we humbly serve each other thereby allowing others to see Christ through us.
Forgive One Another (Ephesians 4:32) – Our families see the worst of us and as a consequence, forgiveness often takes center stage. Understanding and practicing forgiveness within the family is critical to healthy relationships. As scripture teaches us, forgiveness is not predicated upon whether we think the other person is worthy of it; God-honoring forgiveness is given freely and asks for nothing in return.
Pray For One Another (James 5:16) – There may be no better indicator to the spiritual health of a family than whether or not a family prays for each other. If we are walking in faith and bring a need of another family member to the feet of Christ, God’s Word says that prayer will be “powerful and effective.” Take a moment and consider how awesome our families can be by simply praying for one another!
Our families are a training ground for showcasing the kind of love Jesus teaches. These are just five of twelve “one another” verses that are the subject of our brand new family devotional Undivided: Living FOR and not just WITH one another. Ultimately God desires all his people to live for one another, but there’s no better place to start than with the family.