This devotional is part of the Awakening Series. It is inspired by the song God is love. You can find the song by clicking the link below
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command – anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.” (1 John 4:20- 5:2, NIV)
“Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” (Heb 2:11, NLT)
October is family month in our church. And just yesterday we were celebrating my mother’s 83rd birthday! So its fitting that today’s devotional be on family.
A Biblical definition of family includes the church family. Christians are brothers and sisters under one Father and Jesus is our older brother. (Hebrews 2:11)
Family is where we experience much joy. Family relationships provide companionship, a support system and greatly enrich our experience of life (Gen 2:18). They were intended by God to be a blessing and a source of joy (Psalm 127:3-4). A Christian who is fruitful as Jesus intended (John 15:5,8) might not have biological children but they will definitely have spiritual children and will experience great joy from this eternal heritage (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
But like all of life, families are also the place where we experience challenges – conflict, disappointment and even betrayal. I actually wrote this song at a time when I was going through a great deal of pain. God used the situation to remind me (yet again!) that there are countless times that I have caused Him pain and disappointment, but that did not cause Him to reject me. He reminded me that relationships – especially family relationships – are foundational to all of life. So foundational, that they are woven into the very fabric of His being! He is a Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and families are ultimately a reflection of the eternal reality of how He functions. He is relational and had no beginning and will have no end, and likewise, there is no beginning or end to the concept of family. His Spirit tells us that we are His children forever, joint heirs with Jesus (Rom 8:15-17). Clearly, God was conveying the importance of committed, loving, fruitful relationships when He instituted the family!
As I meditated on the words of this song, God helped me see the folly of trying to shield myself from the vulnerability that relationships bring. The tempter of our souls is a destroyer – and both biological and church families are a key target of his. So whenever I am tempted to give up on anyone, I should take my frustration to my older brother Jesus and receive grace to forgive “seventy times seven times” (Matthew 18:22). I can receive the power to love His way – and choose to be a channel to let the love that He has already poured into my heart by His Holy Spirit flow through me (Rom 5:4).
One way we can apply this in our lives is to:
- Write down the names of anyone in our family or church that we have having significant trouble demonstrating love to;
- Identify a step we can take to heal the relationship and something specific that we can do to demonstrate unconditional love to that person;
- Pray for grace to follow through.
Prayer: Lord may our families, both in our homes and in the church, reflect the enduring, fruitful and unconditional love that You intended.