Thursday, March 21, 2013

Investing in Your Siblings ~ Rachel's Testimony

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 a good discipler?

1.       A Relationship
I realized that my siblings have to trust, respect, and love me or they won’t want to listen to me. For me, a big part of this has been learning to listen to my siblings. Sometimes they want to tell me about things that don’t seem really important or interesting to me, like the dream that they just had, the book they just read, or the paper airplane they just built. But it’s important to them, so learning to listen to them shows them that I really love them.

2.       Time
There are two kinds of time that I try to share with my siblings, quantity time, and quality time.

Quantity time means how much time I spend with them. I try to involve them in my life in whatever I happen to be doing. For example, if I am cooking a meal, I include them by having them help chop vegetables, set the table, or cook another part of the meal. If I go on errands, I take a sibling with me. Being with my siblings day in and day out gives them the opportunity to see the way that I live. My prayer is that as my siblings see the good the bad and the ugly in me, they will see Christ’s fingerprints over it all- in the areas of my life that are good, that they see that I am good because Christ has sanctified me in that area, and in the areas that are bad, that they see me praying and working to overcome my sin for God’s glory. They get "front row seats" to seeing me repent (some times to them) and seeing The Lord work changes in me.

Quality time means the type of time that I spend with them. Mostly, our time is spent in simply living, but I also try to be deliberate about setting aside times to spend one-on-one time with them in a unique way. Sometimes I take them out on a “date”, and go out for ice cream, go to the thrift store, or do something else that they enjoy. But it doesn’t always have to be something like that, we also do fun things at home like read a chapter book, make a craft, or build a fort with blankets and chairs in the living room!

3.       Your Own Spiritual Growth to Share From

In order to pour into my siblings spiritually, I have to be filled by God spiritually myself. This takes having a daily time with the Lord where I study the Scriptures and pray. When I am stagnant spiritually, I don’t have anything worthwhile to share with my siblings, but when God opens my eyes to new things in His Word, it’s the perfect springboard for a conversation with a sibling. I also try to read theological books and listen to good sermons that teach me how to live a more godly life, and my siblings and I love to share quotes, or ideas that we read, with each other.

As my siblings see me living each day, they inevitably see my sin. I am far from being the perfect sister! Though I can’t avoid them seeing my sin, I can either be an example of dealing with it in a godly way or an ungodly way. The Lord has convicted me that I need to be an example of keeping short accounts and asking for forgiveness right away. My prayer is that even though my siblings will see my sin, that they will also see me work by the grace of God to overcome it.

For this purpose I labor, striving according to His power which mightily works within me.
 May I decrease, that Christ may increase! Col 1:29, Jn 3:30


  1. Beautiful post!! Very convicting as well with sone wonderful things to think about and apply.

    Thank you for writing it!!
    Blessings to you,

  2. What an encouragement and blessing it was to read your post dear friend and sister! :)

    I am truly thankful for my siblings the Lord has given me to disciple and invest in and only pray I would continue to glorify Him in our relationship and how we bless those around us with our attitudes toward one another in a christ-like manner.

    Our siblings are such a blessing from the Lord, and pray we would never take them for granted!

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful article!

    In Christ,

    Miss Antoinette

  3. This was such a beautiful post and encouragement to all of us that have siblings and those that have "adopted" siblings through their neighborhood or church. Thank you so much for sharing it!
    :) Rebecca

  4. What an encouraging post! Thank-you for sharing, Rachel. I love your point that even though our siblings see our faults, they can see us - in His strength - working to overcome them. May the Lord bless you abundantly as you continue to serve your siblings!

    With love from a fellow 'oldest' sister,

  5. Thank you for encouraging us to disciple our younger siblings, to be there for them and invest in their lives. I needed that challenge today- to be more intentional with all I do and say.

  6. Dear sisters, thank you for your sweet comments! It was truly a blessing and encouragement to myself to write, and I have caught myself so many times since then realizing that I need to keep consistent in my practice what is so easy to preach. Writing this has made me even more sensitive to my siblings, and the Lord uses it as a reminder to me of HIS truth. It's encouraging to hear that all of you are taking advantage of the amazing opportunity that the Lord has given you as sisters to disciple your siblings! May the Lord richly bless you as you serve Him wholeheartedly! <3