If you are a disciple of Jesus, you have two families. The first one, the family of origin, is the one you were born into. You had no control or choice in this matter. Your family of origin may have been very nurturing, or it may have had disfunction. Either way – your family of origin is fixed and cannot be changed. However, when you are born again through Jesus Christ you inherit a new family – the family of God.
God’s church is supposed to be a group of people in relationship who do life together. Relationships are fundamental because the gospel gets lived out within those relationships. Real life can be lived out when we are abiding in relationships with each other. This is where we learn to use and put into practice the Fruit of the Spirit that God has placed within us.
God calls His Church the family of God. The early church met together in the temple courts, but also met together in homes where they were devoted to deep abiding relationships. They became spiritual family. In Acts 2:42 and following we see them exhibiting many of the characteristics of a family. They ate together, shared their possessions, and even sold their possessions if needed to take care of each other. They focussed on the Word of God and the teachings of the apostles.
These actions not only depict the attitudes and actions of a family, but this is also the kind of bond and relationships that develop in a small group. A small group is a place where people can be relationally discipled as part of a spiritual family.
Jim Putman, author of this blog, has written with Chad Harrington a primer called The Death of Discipleship about the danger of pride and importance of humility in disciple making. Download this free resource here.
Here is some of the “family” language found throughout Scripture.
We are children of God. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).
We are a family of believers: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Gal. 6:10).
We are members of God’s household: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (Eph. 2:19-20).
We are all in this together: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Cor. 12:26).
We are part of a living, spiritual household. “If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15)
Satan has taken the word family and distorted its meaning. No one has grown up with a perfect family. We are all broken in ways that affect the family of origin negatively. Some fathers abuse or abandon their wives and children. Some wives leave their homes or are emotionally abusive. Some siblings are cruel to one another. Some children are disobedient to parents. That is all sin at work.
But God is in the business of redemption. Whatever your experience with family has been, I encourage you to press on towards the family that God describes in the Bible. Let your experiences and definitions be rooted in the Bible, and allow God to start a new thing in your generation, both in and through you. Let Jesus redefine for you what “family” truly means – the family that God helps you create.
Written by Jim Putman
This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.
This article was originally posted here. Used by permission.