So many of us talk about being “children of God” or in the family of God. We say Yahweh – the Eternal God – is our Father. We call people who are of like mind, our “brothers and sisters in Christ”, or simply “brethren.”
We understand we are all one body, one family (1 Cor. 12:12-13). We understand Father is the one who chooses us (John 6:44) and then Jesus (or Yeshua) works with us and brings us to a relationship with Him and our Father (Matthew 11:27; John 6:45).
Sometimes we may not really like someone Father chooses to be part of his Family. That’s not new. How eager were the Jerusalem believers to accept and trust Paul – their former persecutor and torturer – into their midst, for example? Had it not been for Barnabas, Paul may have remained an outsider a while longer (Acts 9:26-28). Would we have been any different? Ananias protested at first (Acts 9:10-19) before going to welcome and baptize Paul. However, his first word to Paul was… “Brother”. Amazing. Simply amazing.
“Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17). The first thing Paul saw, after the scales dropped from his eyes, was his new brother and family member Ananias, someone whom Paul would have bound just a day earlier.
But what about us? This same Paul hurt to see divisions cropping up among brothers and sisters in Christ. “There should be no divisions among you,” he teaches us by inspiration (1 Cor. 1:10). Our master Yeshua prayed, several times within one prayer, that we would be as one with one another as He and the Father were one (John 17:20-23). Read that again. That’s the gold standard. I’m not there yet and neither are you. The “body of Christ” – the church -- is not there yet. Far from it.
When we deny one another, we are denying the body of Messiah, and therefore are denying Him. It’s all too easy to go to organizations that keep us apart, rather than inviting people who have God’s Spirit to your home for fellowship whether they are from this splinter group or from that splinter group. Organizations are of man. And how are “splinters” ever a good thing for the body? The church is a spiritual organism. Cross organizational lines and be the brother and sister you were called to be.
Are we effectively disowning a brother or sister in Christ by the artificial walls we have put up between us? Our Father no longer is to be worshiped in just one city, or from a special mountain, or a physical temple – or can we say, from organizations of men that keep us apart from His family? How does one disown a brother or sister? And yet that seems to be in effect what we are seeing more and more.
One Being decides who is born and added to all and every family, including His own – and that is Father in heaven. One Being decides who is called into His spiritual Family – and that is Father. Each one of us is being prepared for his or her own unique purpose in that living, thriving family – the foundation of the very kingdom of God.
I don’t get to choose my brother and sister. But I can choose to accept him for whom Christ died. I can choose to be a brother to those whom Father is bringing to His family. When I decide otherwise, am I not resisting God’s own decisions to call that person into my life?
So, as we go about our business today – just think: “I don’t get to choose who is in God’s Family. How can I show support for Father’s choices and decisions?”
We don’t get to choose our family members. We do get to choose to love them, accept them, and delight to discover how Yahweh reveals parts of Himself in each one – young and old. Enjoy the family. God’s family. Your family.