Galatians 6:9-10 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
The holiday’s are a time of gathering and rejoicing. We rejoice during thanksgiving for all that God has graced us with and we remember the greatest gift that God gave us during Christmas by giving to us a Savior who is Christ our King.
Years ago when our children were small, my wife and I befriended a couple different neighbors who we stayed in touch with even after we moved. These neighbors had very little family and so we brought them in as our own surrogate grandparents and they in turn showed much love to our family. Our lives were enriched by these special people and when they were gone it felt like losing a family member.
There are many people who are having a very difficult time adjusting during this season. The world has lost many people to Covid this past couple years and the tragedy of unexpected loss brings sorrow during a season meant for gathering together in joy.
When it comes to family, what is it that brings us together? What are the ties that bind?
Family is traditionally thought of as a people who cohabitate in a home. Whether a child is born naturally or adopted into a family, the ties that bind are the same, sharing life together. When considering others we love and those we share meaningful time together, family can grow and expand beyond a traditional sense of connectedness. We have children who are married and their spouses have been incorporated into our family as well, while their extended family members have also enriched our family into so much more.
The ties that bind families together are so much more than genetic traits or state certified documents. Families are drawn together in love and no greater love exists than the Spirit of Christ in us.
1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
The greatest measure of love exhibited among people is born from God.
It is this unity in Christ that binds and creates a like-minded spirit of cooperation. Being joined together is more complex than just cohabitation since it implies a coupling of people who don’t look or act the same into one body, united in one purpose.
The Family of God
How do people come together with the same mind?
I know from experience in my own family that being of one accord can be challenging. My adult children think differently than I do, they have different interests and different styles of raising children. When it comes to anything in life, people form their own thoughts based off what they either learn or observe.
It is the differences within a family that actually make it stronger but it is having the same mind that galvanises a family into one purpose.
Having the same judgement is to live by the same set of laws. The law of the Lord reigns supreme in a family that comes together in Christ. It is this law that determines our steps, guides us in righteousness, and is the measure by which all mankind will be judged by one day.
Genesis 18:19 “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
The family of God is bound by God through His Spirit that dwells within them.
The heritage of Abraham has been passed down through Israel into all peoples, tongues, and tribes. Believers have been grafted into the vine of God’s family and united under one purpose in Christ.
A family that keeps the way of the Lord understands Holiness.
To be Holy is to be set apart for God’s purposes.
The family that is drawn together in love, faithfulness, compassion, commitment, are under the greater umbrella of God’s Sovereignty with multiple bonds that keep them connected. It is these types of families that can weather the storms of adversity and still not be moved.
So how do we contribute to a family dynamic in a way that makes it stronger? Being someone who adds to the strength of a family and not just drawing from its source?
A Positive Member
We all have our times of weakness or trials in which we need the strength of others who love us and care for our needs.
If we have come through a trial we are strengthened by it, we then can ask how we might be a strength for others. By asking these questions we give others the freedom to lean on us during their times of difficulty.
Romans 14:19 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
The key for being a good family member is the selfless love for others.
- Love edifies others.
- Love binds us to one another.
- Love considers others before yourself.
- Love gives without an expectation of receiving.
The attributes of a good family are ones that I have learned through the years by watching others. I have failed at times to be loving and gracious and yet I have witnessed others showing unconditional love to me. It is through these moments of witnessing love expressed through family that has changed me for the better.
If you have someone in your family that is difficult to love, consider being the example they need to see. Don’t let their negativity drive you to be bitter but rather rise above the pettiness and be the example that encourages them to change.
The expression of family is not relegated to the home but is brought together under the control of God’s Spirit.
Future Family of God
Whether the family is genetic, adopted, inspired, or expanded through meaningful relationships, the ways in which we dwell together have purpose and meaning to each of its members.
Within a family there may be those who know Christ and love Him and those who have rejected the grace of God. This lack of belief doesn’t mean we stop loving them or having meaningful time together, the separation of belief will be much more evident when the church is presented before the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:10-12 “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare it in the isles afar off, and say,
‘He who scattered Israel will gather him,
And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
And ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion,
Streaming to the goodness of the Lord—
For wheat and new wine and oil,
For the young of the flock and the herd;
Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden,
And they shall sorrow no more at all.”
As evidence of the Spirit of God is revealed in God’s people, so it will be this same Spirit that draws us together as one people in the end.
The Bride of Christ are those who have been united together under His bond of peace. The peace of God rules in our hearts and unites us together as one.
I have a brother who has rejected Christ and a sister who likewise seems to have abandoned any notion of faith in God. I can hear them talk about what is important in life and know that their hope is not my own.
I also have brothers in Christ who I am not related to genetically but I sense the bond of the Spirit of God uniting us together as one. I can honestly say I feel a greater tie that binds with those who are in Christ since the Spirit is far more binding than a bloodline. I pray for those family members that don’t know the love of God in hopes that they too might know the joy that I have found.
I really look forward to spending eternity with others I have yet to meet, those who have gone on before me and those who live now and have endured this world by following after the Lord.
One day, we will all be united in Christ as one family, sorrow and sighing will flee away, the curse of sin will be vanquished, and this world will be made new. The Lord will dwell in the midst of His people and we will experience the fullness of joy that we have only tasted until now.
Be patient, be found faithful and remember you are part of a greater family if the Spirit of Christ dwells in you…press on and don’t lose heart, the time of our Savior’s coming is sooner than you might think.