“His whole family in heaven and on earth.” — Ephesians 3:15

During the holidays, many of us interact with our families in a very concentrated way. We see more of our siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and parents than we do most times of the year.

It can be a blessing, and a burden.

We all come from some sort of family – some great, warm, and loving. Others, harmful, hurtful. Some may feel abandoned by their families, others may feel smothered and need to break out. Most families try to love each other as best they can, but all families are made of flawed human beings—and most of us have at least one quirky, weird, or funny character in our family tree.

When Jesus said, “you must be born again,”  He created a new order of things.

He gave us a new family. Not to abandon our biological families, but to embrace the new “family of God,” intended to provide you with family members who love the Lord —and you.

Membership in “the family of God” does not come by natural birth, but by new birth. You can’t earn your way in or get invited by a parent or pastor. There’s only one way.

But once you are a believer in Jesus, you have a family that crosses cultural and racial barriers, and includes people of all backgrounds, education levels, financial status, and yes, psychological make ups.

God puts a high priority on your biological family, on relationships, and dedication to parents and children. But He also values your spiritual family.

“The New Testament world is unable to imagine living out a healthy family life apart from the context of a healthy church life,” writes Peter Scazzero. “The local church becomes the place where I am, in a very real sense, reparented.”1

Don’t be afraid to live in this family. We are meant to love one another, to strengthen one another, to reach out when someone is hurting or scared or struggling. Pick up the phone and ask for prayer. Go to your church and seek counsel. Be there for someone in need – and when you are, look at this person as a brother or sister, a member of your family, someone you will spend eternity with, and who just might be there for you when the need arises.

Families are full of flawed, quirky characters who may drive you nuts at times.

But God never gives up on them. In fact, He just might use you to reach out and love them…and in return, you’ll know the joy of a family where everyone loves one another, despite our imperfections.

“Families are like fudge… mostly sweet with a few nuts.” ~Author Unknown

 

1.Scazzero, Peter, The Emotionally Healthy Church, Zondervan, Grand Rapids Michigan, 2003, p. 99.