We are all familiar with the concept of family. But family can be more than just someone biologically related to you — much more.
At first, your family is likely the people who raised you or were around when you were growing up.
But as you progress through life, family might be someone who you have had many experiences with, someone who accepted you, or a group who has supported you.
Family doesn’t have to be a DNA match; it can be an individual or collection of people who love and value you.
We see family as a physical thing — but can people also become our spiritual family? The simple answer is yes.
Those are people who have valued and added to your life not just on a tangible level, but also a spiritual one.
A Spiritual Family Challenges You
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).
It is important to have the influence of people who challenge you to think and does not let you fall into a “cookie-cutter Christian culture” where everyone looks the same, talks the same, or has the same vibe.
This kind of community can allow for only shallow discussions, without the encouragement of analytical, diverse, and spirited discussion of faith.
True sharpening of iron requires friction, sparks, and pressure. This does not sound like someone who stays strictly inside a comfort zone or within the confines of a group who are just like them.
During the 2020 presidential election, the term “Purple Church” became more widely understood.
This simply means — half the church votes blue and half the church votes red blending the community into a lovely shade of purple.
The Gospel of Christ does not have a political party. The Gospel of Christ is not a certain color. The Gospel of Christ does not have a last name, affiliation, or brand.
A Spiritual Family Supports You
Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Luke 8:19-21).
Life can be messy. Family relationships become estranged or even ended due to abuse or a lack of boundaries, and a variety of other reasons.
Often, we do not know where to turn for help. This is one of the arenas a mature spiritual family can support you.
A spiritual community can be there through the birth of your child, an illness, divorce, or even when you purpose to give up alcohol or substance abuse.
When you need counsel in a difficult life decision, where do you turn? Probably to someone who is wise, a person with spiritual insight.
Having a healthy spiritual family surrounding you can be a boon to the turmoil life brings our way. This is reciprocal, a circular relationship, one with a hand up and a hand down.
So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others (Romans 12:5).
A Spiritual Family Is Part of Your Faith Journey
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6-7).
It is your journey. It is your story. But along the way, there are people who make a difference to us. They become part of your story.
The beauty of a spiritual family is that it is always changing and growing just like you. People often enter our world for a season, but with a divine purpose.
We learn from them; they help us and vice versa! I remember the lessons I have learned from people who momentarily walked into my life as well as those who have been journeyed with me for decades.
A spiritual family can be as diverse as your own family. They may be varied based on denomination, ethnicity, age, and gender — a perfect blend of Christians loving, supporting, and learning from one another.
I have heard it said that a spiritual family is all the people, past and present, who claim to follow the teachings of Christ.
While this might be a stretch in some regards, I think it is worth noting that you are not alone on your faith journey.
Surround yourself with people who also believe in Jesus and who are actively living out the gospel.
Why Is a Spiritual Family Important?
When functioning optimally, a spiritual family can be a peek into eternity.
The definition of family, in recent years, has come into much debate with the rise of unexpected DNA discoveries due to the accessibility of at-home DNA testing.
While “family” may need to be decided and defined by the individual, it often comes down to this; who has supported you, who is willing to step up, who will make a sacrifice for you?
A spiritual community, who supports, steps up, and sacrifices for each other, thus living out true Christianity, can become family.
Who are those people in your life right now? Are they your spiritual family?
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:12-17).
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Rebekah Drumsta’s work has been globally reaching by serving with various nonprofits and organizations. Her background is diverse including educational and online content development, event coordinating, international relations, and public speaking. Currently, Rebekah delights in being a homeschool mom and Life Coach. She serves as Director of PR for an international non-profit while also hosting her personal blog, RebekahDrumsta.com which focuses on recovery after religious trauma and spiritual abuse. Rebekah holds a BA in Urban Ministry and Family Crisis with a Christian Counseling Minor, an MA in Religious Education, and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. She has made appearances on and consulted with sources including BBC, NBC, ABC, The Daily Telegraph, and a variety of other platforms.