Identity Found in God
The Father and His Child
The Family of God
The Father of Compassion
The Love that Endures
The Heavenly Home
Living as a Child of God
The Family of God
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
I love having one on one conversations with my kids. Having direct focus on each other, learning more about each other's day. But, I also love each night when our family gathers around the dinner table, when we all enjoy talking with each other. Someone shares a story from their day which leads to someone else's day, which reminds someone else of something else and so on and so on. Before we know it, we have sat around the table for an hour and half or more! Just enjoying each other's company, engaging in each other's lives and experiences - I love it! One evening I left our table at home and gathered together with another group of people. This group also gathered around a table. And when we prayed together, I just had to imagine God, our Father smiling - enjoying time around the table, enjoying sharing experiences and conversation with His children - together! Just as I was a joy-filled mother as my family gathered around our kitchen table, God must love it when His children gather together and include Him in on the conversation around the table! I'm sure He desires and loves those one on one times with His children too. He finds great joy in those intimate one on ones, but also loves when His family unites together in conversation with Him! There is lots we have to talk about - and He has much to say to us at the table.
There are two perspectives I think we need to consider when we take a look at what the family of God looks like. First of all, we are brothers and sisters in our own congregations, families, neighborhoods. Those we can personally interact with and seek out to share with our struggles and joys. During my journey to Mongolia, one of the main perceptions I was moved by was the acknowledgement and recognition of beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ who are currently living on the other side of the world, but who I will get to spend eternity with in Heaven! The concept of the family of God for me became deeper as this reality set in. While I can’t regularly hang out with these brothers and sisters in person, our Father can nudge me to pray for them. We are not alone. As we experience difficult times, let’s be reminded that we don’t have to go through it alone. We have a family to help us! As we see our brothers and sisters struggle, let’s be an active part of their family and ask our Father how we can walk with them.
The second perspective of the family of God is how to get along. Family dynamics. Ok, let’s get it out of the way. When a group of people gather together, there may be times when things don’t go smoothly. (Just for the record, I am not reflecting my own family nor my family-in-law”! Just speaking in general!) Obviously, from the beginning of time, well, at least after the forbidden bite of the apple, conflict in God’s kids was present. Different people who have different opinions who want to do different things in different ways. Paul addressed the Church, the family of God, on these topics. His letters are full of instruction on how to be, not divided, but to be unified. Finding unity in the family is important. Don’t we want our family to grow? This family is made up of humans, and so, naturally, we will be a bit dysfunctional and imperfect. But if this family consists of children of God, who have chosen to believe in Him and live in Him, there should be a common core in Christ, producing a unified voice that proclaims the Truths that God is about. My heart breaks when brothers and sisters are in conflict. When our voice is tainted, muted and divided.
I don’t know about you, but I observe some families who, honestly, I would not want to be a part of. On the other hand, there are those I would love to join. I remember when Jay and I were first married and living in Virginia, there was a family we went to church with who we called, “The good family”. The dad was the “good dad”, the mom was the “good mom” and the kids were the “good kids”. You could observe the love and respect they had for one another. We wanted to join them.
As we interact as a child of God, in the Family of God, may the relationships reflect God. As individuals who have not yet come to believe, observe our family, do we give them something they long to be a part of, or do we act in a way that leaves them saying, “Why would I want to be a part of that?” I pray with all my heart that we engage in the kind of words and actions as a brother and sister in Christ, that pleases our Heavenly Father, and that requires more seating at the table.
As you commune in a one on one time with your Father, what is He saying to you? Voice to Him how you feel. Are there those in the family of God who our Father is putting on your heart? Are there those who you are in conflict with? Who is God nudging you to invite into the family?