Silhouettes of family and people at the Cross of Jesus Christ knowing they will face challenges in their church family.

The Challenges and Blessings of Our Spiritual Family 

One of the greatest gifts of being a part of a spiritual family is the blessing of people with whom you can share life. Having a community by your side through the highs and lows of life is truly a great gift from God. But as with any relationship, there will be both blessings and challenges to navigate. But take heart, challenges among the body of Christ aren’t new, and the blessings God offers far outweigh the challenges you will have to navigate.  

Challenges Aren’t New 

While it can be easy to think that conflict and challenges are new or unique in your own faith community, that simply isn’t the case. In fact, we see a picture of it in the New Testament. In Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi he addresses two women in the midst of an undisclosed conflict.  

“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel…” Philippians 4:2-3, NIV. 

Paul, when he heard about a conflict among members of the same spiritual family, pleaded with them to find reconciliation, and asked for the whole church community to help them do so. 

Dealing with Challenges 

Since it is inevitable that you will face challenges with members of your spiritual family, let’s consider how Jesus teaches us to handle such challenges. In the Sermon on the Mount He said, 

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment… Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:22-24, NIV 

Our anger against another brother or sister matters to God. He calls us to live in harmony, and therefore we ought to take matters of conflict seriously. When an issue arises, don’t leave room for the enemy to cause it to fester. Pursue reconciliation and consider it a matter serious enough to affect your own personal holiness.  

A group of people stand in a circle holding hands and praying as they face challenges in their spiritual family.

Embracing the Blessings 

While there are challenges in our Christian relationships, there are innumerable blessings found in the richness of Christian community. Let’s highlight just a few:  

  1. We Help One Another 

1 Corinthians 12 beautifully outlines the importance of different gifts and roles in the church. When we come together in faith and unity, we can accomplish so much more than anyone could alone.  

  1. We Comfort One Another  

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4.). 

  1. We Encourage One Another  

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15-16). 

Living in Harmony with One Another 

Like any relationship in your life, navigating relationships with your spiritual family will be full of unique challenges, and those challenges ought not be overlooked. But there is hope! God has called you to live in harmony, and in doing so you will find incredible blessing.  

Listen now to a short segment of an Abide meditation based on 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Let God speak to your heart about how He comforts us so we can comfort others as part of the family of God.

Being part of a family, both physically and spiritually, can bring great joy—and great challenges. I’ll close with the words of Peter in 1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 

Let Abide be your daily companion as you navigate the blessings and challenges of life with others in the faith. Our more than 1500 guided meditations all exist to help you draw nearer to God. Download the app and start a premium subscription. This will give you access to our entire library of content. Use this link for 25% off. 

Gwen lives in Atlanta with her husband, Paul. She loves black coffee and a good novel. She is also always looking for a new skill to try or adventure to take.