Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Family of God

In John 20:17 Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Do not touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. And go on to My brothers, and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father, and to your Father, and to My God, and to your God.’”
After His resurrection Jesus calls the disciples His brothers and says that God is their God and Father. Jesus shows us that His resurrection brought us into the family of God.

Jesus said in John 14:1, "Do not let your heart be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me." Jesus' cure for a troubled heart is trust in God and Himself. Just as when we were children we trusted our parents to take care of us and comfort us when we were troubled or afraid so we are to trust God enough to go to Him when we are troubled because we realize that He is the safest place to be. The problem with using the word believe in John 14:1 is it leaves the impression that we have to muster up some sort of feeling of confidence. But we are to trust God which is relational. It means we go to Him during our troubles.

In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says, "Be perfect as God is perfect." We don't expect children to be as mature as adults. In keeping with your development in Christ God can look at you as perfect not just as being made perfect in His Son but perfect in the place you are in your life. God isn't stupid. He doesn't expect a 3 year old to be like a 30 year old. He knows you fully and He doesn't expect you to be able to do or be more than you are today. God is satisfied with you.

Living with Siblings
When power enters into a relationship submission is about power and where you fall in hierarchy instead of submission being what God intended which is mutual respect and love for people we have a relationship with. Whenever you deal with relationships that are about power the relationship is selfish. It is all about the person with more power. The servant loves by serving and the master loves to be served. Jesus came as a servant even though He is the only master. None of us are to put ourselves above others.

So why do we think that being something other than a brother or sister to someone is what is superior? Brothers and sisters share the life of their Father. The older help the younger learn to grow. That is what a biblical elder is. An elder (older) brother or sister that helps you learn and grow. An elder is not a surrogate parent. We have only an inkling of how deep the family of God parallels to blood families. Just as our older siblings may try to manipulate and control us to make us obey them so it is with the family of God where men elevate themselves above others and claim authority they do not have over others.

Another thing to realize is that children who have the same parents can be wildly different people. It is the same with God and His family. With God's family being as large as it is there is tons of variety. I'm talking about individual personalities and behavior. I'm not condoning the segregating denominations which put the family in competition with or at odds with each other. Church institutions promote a sort of sibling rivalry. Anyone who claims to have everything right is automatically wrong and worse off than the humble person who realizes that all of God's children are in a process of growth and maturing. "If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know." (1 Corinthians 8:2)

Christians and Christian groups often bicker over who God loves most when the Father loves all of His children just as He loves Jesus who gave us the privilege of being children of God (see John 17:23 & John 1:12). We have the ultimate older brother in Jesus and He is the first born in Father's family. All of God's children are equally loved, equally clean, and equally righteous.

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