A Family of God’s People
by Jon Walker
Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. (1 Peter 2:17b NCV)
We long to belong.
All believers «belong in God’s household with every other Christian» (Ephesians2:19 LB). This means church is not something we go to – rather it’s something we belong to – a family of God’s people. It’s more than an organization, more than an institution, even more than a group of like-minded people.
We are a family forged in the fires of God’s love, and we are to «be devoted to each other like a loving family» (Romans 12:10a GW). We are to love one another like brothers and sisters. This sense of family togetherness allows us to create authentic Christian community – where we are accepted, supported, and challenged to fully live out the purposes of our lives. We belong, and we help others believe they belong.
Family is synonymous with a deep, unwavering commitment to support one another, no matter how rough it may get. You do things for family that you wouldn’t do for anyone else – and you make allowances for family members that you might not make for anyone else.
For many of us, this image of family fails because we’ve never really been in a loving, wholesome family. We’ve only seen broken models, shattered relationships, and hurting hearts. The good news is that God wants to provide you with the very things you’ve longed for in a family, and he can do that in Christian community.
As we learn to love one another, our congregations can create the sense of family necessary to trust one another, accept one another, and serve one another. We learn the power of unconditional love.
Our congregations are meant to be Holy Spirit-led laboratories for learning to love one another deeply and earnestly (1Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22).
* Learn to develop healthy relationships – You may have learned unhealthy methods of relating in your «family of origin,» but in a community of believers there will be models of good relationships (and, frankly, models of the bad too – but seek out and learn from the godly ones). This «journey in community» will teach you the honesty, vulnerability, effort, and forgiveness it takes to keep relationships vibrant, transparent, and healthy.
* Learn to develop godly character – Godly character is often caught rather than taught, and in Christian community you’re likely to get a front-row seat to the character traits of others – as they will get a front-row seat to yours! Look for where you see maturity modeled, so you can learn – or catch – those traits.
* Learn the importance of biblical values – Within your congregational family, you are able to measure whether your values align with the standards of the Bible and mature, doctrinally-correct Christian beliefs: «One generation makes known your faithfulness to the next.» (Isaiah 38:19 LB).
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.
Devocionales Cristianos www.devocionalescristianos.org