Saturday, January 26, 2008

Loving Like Family

One of the many blessings I have in my life is my family. I have great parents who sacrificed their time and money to raise me and in the process taught me about Jesus. They have continued to help me along the way as I have moved away and been on my own. My older brother and younger sister have been there for me when life didn’t seem to turn out the way I would like it to. The people they married have become part of the family, people I can talk to and count on. My nephews and nieces provide me with joy and love I couldn’t find anywhere else. To be part of a loving family is to know that we are accepted no matter what happens.

One of the tragedies that have happened in the Western Christianity is the rise of the individual. There is no doubt that we are to make a personal decision to love God and to have a personal commitment to Him. No one else can provide us with the faith to follow Jesus the way we are supposed to. We are personally responsible for our own faith.

The problem is that often we focus solely on our “relationship” with God, while ignoring the people around us. As a result we feel frustrated in our “relationship” with God and seek out different ways to “connect” to Him. I believe the thing we need most to grow in our faith and commitment to God is all around us, but ignored. Relationships with other Christians are what we need to grow in our own relationship with God. We need a group of people who make us feel loved and accepted, just as a good family loves and accepts the people who are part of that family.

Let‚’s face reality. These family like relationships are difficult difficult to have. One reason they are difficult is because you are vulnerable in a relationship like that. Your heart is open and laid bare and people may not respond to your openness they way you would like them to. The pain of rejection is increased when you put yourself out there and others just walk away.

Not only are our chances of being hurt increased when we seek to be part of an intimate relationship, but it also means we have to deal with other peoples’ hurts and problems. It means opening our lives up to the messiness of their lives. These relationships will demand our time and our love. They will be work.

But it is only by being part of the family of God that we really do begin to draw close to Him.
18 Little children, we must stop loving in word and in tongue, but instead love in action and in truth. 19 And this is how we will know that we belong to the truth and how we will be able to establish our hearts in his presence.

20 If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God. 22 Whatever we request we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The person who keeps his commandments abides in God, and God abides in him. This is how we can be sure that he remains in us: he has given us his Spirit (1 John 3:18-24; ISV).

It is not enough to simply say we love other people, but we need to show it in our actions. Through our love we begin to develop real and personal relationships with other people. We encourage each other and push one another to pursue living a faithful life. The result of having fellowship with each other is God’s promise to live in fellowship with us. The key to having fellowship with God is not some spiritual discipline, but having fellowship with other Christians. Having a group of Christians who love and accept us like family spurs us into a deeper fellowship with God.

  • Point to Ponder: Only by being part of the family of God that we really do begin to draw close to Him.
  • Passage to Remember: 1 John 3:18-24
  • Question to Consider: How are your relationships with other Believers?

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