Families can be messy! Aunt Susie doesn’t speak to cousin Mary because, truth is, no one knows why. Time goes by and they don’t know either. There was a time when there was a funeral dinner in my basement and I had to make sure to put the two great aunts who were coming at different tables. They didn’t speak to one another or associate with one another. However, at dinner there were words exchanged of sarcasm and hostility between the two of them. Keeping them at separate tables didn’t do anything to change their hearts. How can we process this behavior in our families? Where do we turn? It’s important to understand how God has used the terminology of family to refer to his followers. What does he mean?
- Christ died so that we could be united in him as sons.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5
When we trust in Christ as our Lord and Savior accepting his payment for our sins, then we are adopted by God. He becomes our Father.
2. God becomes our Father.
“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’. So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:6-7
If we have a father, then we are part of a family. Notice how God gives us what we need to be close to him, His Spirit. This family we are a part of is the body of believers. All who believe in Christ are related to us through Christ’s blood.
3. The family of God should want what is best for each other.
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part if working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16
As part of the family of God we should strive to be a conduit to Christ to every member. We do this by following the Word of the Lord. If we follow it, then we put it into practice. We are to be loving and kind to one another in order to build each other up in Christ.
God’s family can be messy! It becomes that way when we choose to follow our own desires and not his. There are so many verses in the Scriptures which use the words, “one another”. These words follow an instruction to us in order that we may follow it in order to be a benefit to our brother or sister. We are family and we need to remember that we are to grow together. Spiritual maturity happens when we look more like Christ. Here are a few examples of how the family of God displays unity, love, and kindness. The results are always growth for everyone involved.
Someone is coming to church for the first time after the death of someone very close to her. She feels alone and misses her friend. As she is standing in the pew, she feels someone on one side of her and then there is someone on the other side of her. She knows she is not alone as her friends are there to comfort her in her time of grief. GROWTH!
Life is so hard in the face of on-going health issues. The everyday things of life still need to be taken care of like meals, laundry, work, and school. Life doesn’t pause because of the health issues. In fact, there is so much more that is added to the plate of responsibility with doctor’s visits, pharmacy pick-ups, treatments, and rehab. Help comes from individuals in the family of God. There are rides, pick-ups, meals, grocery shopping, and so much more that people come along side and do. GROWTH!
The greatest contribution we can make to our family is prayer. There are people who say, “I guess all I can do is pray.” That is not an accurate reflection of what prayer accomplishes. Prayer is the best we can do because we are connecting with our Father about a member of his family. “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:11 Paul is encouraging prayer for each other. The result of these prayers is praise to God for his work in each situation. Praying for others equals GROWTH!
Yes, families are messy but God can make every mess we face beneficial for ourselves and others. We need to look to our own hearts and seek to grow to be more like our elder brother, Jesus.