August 25

Living and Serving in Community, Part 2

Mark 3:31-35 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”

But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

One of the most healing, wonderful, challenging realities of being a Christian is that we automatically become part of another family. Today’s world likes to call friends, neighbors, co-workers, and online connections “family.” That can indicate a loving closeness, but a loose definition of the term can be dangerous, as our enemy seeks to redefine and weaken the definition of family.

There are really only two kinds of families: the “nuclear family” of parents and children, and every variation of that (natural-born, adopted, single moms, single dads, etc.), and the family of God.

Romans 8:15 tells us that we have “received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Hebrews 2:11 tells us that Jesus is our brother. These are not metaphors; this is reality. The body of Christ is not like our family; it is our family. Our heavenly Father is a real father, and the best one. Those other Christians—they are our real brothers and sisters. Ephesians 4:1 and 3 says in part, “…Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

It doesn’t say to work at creating the unity of the Spirit. It says to keep it—guard it, strengthen it, protect it, as it’s already present. The spiritual bond we share with our Christian brothers is a more precious connection than even the natural family connection, in part because we take it into eternity with us. Our natural bonds pass away with our death. Heaven won’t know natural connections—only spiritual ones, ones we happily get to enjoy on this side of the grave.

We need to settle it once and for all that our brothers and sisters in Christ are family. Locking this truth down in our hearts and minds is so freeing. It can release a new level of love, understanding and support. We come to see that we are constantly inheriting the gifts of our family members—in their gifts, talents and acts of love. And there will be moments in our lives when knowing we’re not alone will be worth more than precious jewels.

Yes, we have responsibilities when we are members of a family. But when there is a great, mighty, loving family like the body of Christ (though we all fall short), belonging is a joy.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You have placed me in such a magnificent family. May all the good things I learned from You through my natural family be turned into blessings toward all my brothers and sisters. Help me to see with Your eyes what riches I have in belonging to the household of God.

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