We have all experienced the feeling of being without family. Sometimes people ask me if I’m ever going to move closer to my children. Well, first of all, it would be a very difficult choice between South Korea, Colorado, and Arkansas. But, more importantly, GOD has led me to remain in this town and HE has provided an amazing family right here!
God designed us to “be family” and “have family” within the extraordinary bond of His presence. After we are born again, and begin to passionately pursue God, our deepest sense of “family” comes from God, He never leaves us. Our brothers, sisters, parents, and children aren’t always going to be with us. They grow up, grow old, sometimes grow apart, and we all eventually die. Perhaps, as parents, the toughest change is when our children leave home. We spend 18 years making them the central part of our life and when they’re gone, a part of our heart goes with them. Many of us begin to feel completely unnecessary.
But, my friend, we are STILL necessary and significant!
Through the gift of salvation, we have an eternal family in Christ Jesus. We are the bride of Christ and have been given the great privilege to cultivate remarkable relationships within our local church. Don’t be fooled by this world’s culture which has successfully created a cloud of negativity about committing to a local church! The culture of our enemy is in the business of tearing apart anything that’s good. The church is made of PEOPLE—like you and me—and we are the only ones who can change it. There is no perfect church because there are no perfect people. We often hold the leadership and people in a church to a standard that we are not willing to keep. People in the church will fail us and we will fail them (just like in our family.) Most importantly, we can’t live in obedience to Christ if we abandon the church. Jesus made it clear that it is HIS church, and is to be engaged in the spread of the Gospel. Jesus said it was the ONLY institution He had created where His followers could collectively withstand the gates of hell. (Matthew 16:18)
We need the church and the church needs us!
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Believe me, I know. You see, after my divorce, committing to a church was a journey. First, God had to deal with my relationship with Him. During this process of drawing me back to Himself, my three children spread their wings and left home. I found myself living alone with no family within hundreds of miles. But because God had been teaching me how to have an intimate relationship with Him—I wasn’t lonely. It was actually a great place to be in life because I had time to expand and develop my spiritual family. It has been a ton of work—just like raising kids, but God has given me “spiritual children” (those I’ve had the great delight in helping be born again into the family of God) and through the church—spiritual brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers.
What a family!!!!
Today, the bond with my brothers and sisters in Christ has given me the healthiest and strongest relationships in my entire life. Even the relationships with my family members are stronger! Even when I casually meet another born again believer, say on a plane or in a different town—there is an instant and remarkable—supernatural connection. This should not surprise us. Jesus taught us about this bond:
Then His [Jesus] 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.'”Mark 3:31-35 NKJV
Jesus taught us a powerful message about the importance of viewing family in light of eternity. When we understand that our brothers and sisters in Christ are our eternal family, God multiplies our love for them. The instinctive love for our own children is expanded to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We experience family the way God does.
God loved us even BEFORE we were His children.
God enables us to love like He does. But in order for this to take place we must get to know Him. We can’t have God’s heart of love–without His presence. When we daily seek to be close to Him, we begin to see others through His eyes of love. He activates the spiritual family instincts He gave us and we desire to meet the needs of others—just like with our own family. Suddenly, we find we’re so busy with our new “family” that it’s almost like the clock has gone back to when our children were home. We are busy—joyfully giving others what God has given us. In fact, we often have even more joy than when we were chasing toddlers or carpooling teenagers.
When Christ is the center of our life, He multiplies our love and surrounds us with the remarkable experience of HIS family.
We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.
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