My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I celebrated it the way I like best by being with my family. We went to one of my favorite restaurants and dinner was on the kids. My current two favorite preoccupations, my grandson Justice and my granddaughter Annabelle were also there.
I couldn't help but notice how comfortable and confident Justice and Anabelle were in the midst of our family. They joyfully traveled from lap to lap, laughing and playing. Despite their young ages they seem to understand their family membership, and from this security they were able to reach out, explore and even respond positively to strangers who noticed them. It was as if the family gave them a foundation in which to discover their identity and be motivated to grow further.
I thought back to the first words that Father God spoke after creating the human race. They were words of blessing and they tied our prosperity and our family membership together. “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and govern it.” (Genesis 1:28) From the very beginning, Father God intended that we would have our identity and expand our territory from the secure base of being in a family.
Father God's intention that we live, grow and develop within a family context permeates all His commands to us and all His blessings over us. He constantly uses family references in describing our relationship to Him. Romans 8:15 assures us that Father God has adopted us as members of his very own family, so intimately connected to Him, that we call Him “Abba” or “Daddy.”
Our family ties in Him are so close that He describes us as being united together like a body, completely interdependent on one another. As the Church, we are not an organized structure, but a living organism, and we are built up and grow together. “The whole body depends upon Christ. All the parts of the body are joined and held together, with each part doing its own work. This causes the whole body to grow and become stronger in love.” (Ephesians 4:16)
Too often today, I see Christians wandering from one local church to another, seeking new experiences by attending special Christian events. They are constantly seeking, but never being satisfied. They're like orphans, accepting a meal here and there, and perhaps a nights lodging, but then they move on, restless and alone. I want to ask them, “Where’s your family?” They don't understand that the lasting intimacy and depth they seek with Father God can only be found in the ongoing presence of His family.
Father God created us in such a way that we find our identity, our purpose and our destiny in the midst of ongoing commitment to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must find “our family,” the local body to whom we belong in order to live that commitment, and find the fulfillment in Him we are seeking.
As you read this today, I ask you, “Where’s your family?” What local group of Christians are you committed to on an ongoing basis? For you will only find your identity and live in the fullness of God's blessings when you are a stable member in the family where God places you.
Please come join us this Sunday at one of our three worship services. Our worship leader, Pastor Kenny Peavy will be speaking at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM. We will have a special guest speaker, Brandon Hess at our 2:00 PM service.