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Following Jesus requires us to break free from the destructive patterns of our past and living out the purpose God has for our lives. Sometimes, we need to go back to move forward. This week, we focus on the part our family plays in our life with God.

Read Mark 3:31-35. More people seem to be interested in researching their family tree, fuelled by television programmes like, Who Do You Think You Are? and websites like ancestry.co.uk. There was great excitement at the beginning of this year when the 1921 Census data was published, allowing many people to begin adding more pieces to their jigsaw puzzle of origin.

The Bible sees some importance in our ancestry too. When it talks of our “family”, it usually means our entire extended family over three or four generations. It is important, then, for us to know all about our brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and great-grandparents, and to delve back at least as far as the mid-1800s!

Why is our ancestry important? Because whilst our lives our shaped by our circumstances, by far the biggest influence on how we live life is our family. Some of us leave home determined to “break away” from our family ties, only to discover, years later, that our family way of doing things follows us wherever we go! What happens in one generation, often happens again in the next, however hard we try. The consequences of actions and decisions taken in an earlier generation can also affect us today.

You are not acting alone. You are a player in a much larger family system that may well go back three or four generations. It therefore helps if we know who our family are and what their patterns might be. Sometimes, going back is the only way to move forward.

THINK IT OVER

Think about the following:

•How would you describe each of the family members you know with two or three adjectives? What do you learn about your family from these descriptions?

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Rob Westwood-Payne

Hi - I'm Rob. I'm married to Gail and we have a handsome, cheeky cocker spaniel called Harley. I am a Christian leader, pastor and preacher. I am a Salvation Army officer leading a congregation in the south of England. I am a leadership and discipleship blogger and daily devotional podcast host.