Thursday, May 27, 2021

So – You Think We Are Related?

“Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’ But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’” – Matthew 12:47-49

I am certain that you have read those verses at some time. When I read them, frankly they seemed odd to me – maybe even harsh. Jesus family was on the doorstep – wanting to see Him – but He was too busy it seemed. Or was He disrespecting His family – His mother? Well no, actually, He wasn’t. Instead He was teaching a spiritual truth.  The physical or natural dominates the way we live and think and relate. That applies to Christians and non-Christians alike.  Who we are naturally – socially, ethnically, economically, culturally very often has primacy over who we are Spiritually. The Disciples saw Jesus’ natural family and responded to what they saw – but Jesus saw something else.

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [d]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

We like groups. We like to identify with other people who are like us or who like what we like. Could be race, could be the part of the country we live in, could be family, could be denomination or faith, could be a sports team – it is something we have in common that makes us feel “warm” inside – we like to belong – we don’t want to be alone. And those who are not like us or don’t like what we like – well there must be something wrong – and it is certainly not us!

Having commonality Spiritually is something that is born out of faith in Jesus.  You know that already. To embrace that commonality the way Jesus did requires that our faith has primacy over everything else. All of the natural things that we identify with are secondary – even family – to our new life.  If God is your Father because Jesus is your Lord and the Spirit is in you, then you are my Brother or Sister. That is a Spiritual truth that we are supposed to embrace, to live and walk in. But very often we fail. Very often we demand that you must first embrace the “natural” me before I can embrace the “spiritual” you. 

There is so much racial tension in our country. It has always been there – but it is like a volcano that lies dormant and then erupts from time to time. Sometimes small eruptions and sometimes it is like Mount Saint Helen. There are certainly inequities in every country – ours included. All are deep rooted in the natural. Fear and anger because of past and present injustices are the fuel for division. Everyone identifies with their groups. The gaps between the groups get wider. Social reformation requires a heart change – heart change doesn’t happen without Jesus.  And there is the problem.  The natural world does not want Jesus to be the answer. The groups are formed – the people identify with the groups – everyone takes a stand with the group in which they find their identity. The answer to the problems of this world cannot be Jesus – the world won’t let it be Jesus. That would mean they would have to abandon what they trust, rely on, love.  Hmmmm.  Sounds like the day that I came face to face with Jesus and abandoned what I trusted, relied on and loved putting my faith, my very life in Him.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” – 1 John 3:1

Who or what do you identify with? God’s family or your natural family. If it is the former, do you feel guilty when you admit it? Letting go of the natural in favor of the Spiritual is an act of faith and love for God. Impossible to do without faith. The world may be divided, but the Body of Christ is “supposed” to be united. A friend of mine used to say, “United becomes Un-tied when the “I” is out of place.” One more verse for perspective on this issue.

“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” – 1 John 4:20-21

Think about it – Pray about it - Believe it – walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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