Jesus Christ never married, but He was a family man. He had a physical family: mother, stepfather, half-brothers and half-sisters. But His real devotion was to His spiritual Family. In fact, one time when His mother and siblings wanted Him to come to them, He motioned instead toward His disciples and said, “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:49-50).
Apply this to God’s Church today. Men and women, adults and teens: We are spiritual family!
The Apostle Paul wrote this: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). “Household” here means one’s own family. It means related by blood; kindred; intimate. (See also 1 Timothy 5:8.)
People in God’s Church really are family.
You hear the word family a lot: “crustacean family,” “woodwind family,” “family of brands,” “crime family.” People also use “family” to refer to all sorts of groups of people living in the same house or even multiple houses. But when we say God’s Church is a family, it is not a metaphor.
The original family God created consists of a man marrying a woman, the man begetting a child, the woman bringing the child to birth, and the father and mother nurturing, protecting and raising the child.
Baptized members of God’s Church are literally begotten (not yet born) children of God the Father! The lives of unbaptized young people in God’s Church are leading toward that same role: literal spiritual children of God.
At baptism, members enter a marriage covenant with Christ. The Church as a whole is the temple of God, or the house of God (Ephesians 2:20-21; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 4:17).
As a young person in God’s Church, you are part of that Family. God has set you apart because your parents or grandparents in God’s Church are literal members of His Family (1 Corinthians 7:14).
God is “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15). God is a Family. Part of the Family is in heaven, and part of it is on Earth! If you are part of God’s Church, you are part of that Family.
Don’t think of “family” as just a collection of people who sort of like each other. Family, in the true sense of the word, is an intimate group of human beings and God Beings operating within definite, eternal, beneficial laws and bound by blood and/or the Holy Spirit.
This is real.
Since we are all literal members of a literal family, each of us has a family role. The Bible shows your role in the family life of God’s Church.
“A new commandment I give unto you,” Jesus told His disciples, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). Near the end of His physical life, Christ commanded members of His spiritual Family to love each other with God-level love! That’s a lot of love, a lot of action, a lot of work: Being a part of the Family of God is a full-time job!
Do you treat some or most of your spiritual Family as just casual acquaintances? Are you standoffish toward them? Are you closer to friends at school than you are to your spiritual Family? Or do you cling only to certain members? Families—physical and spiritual—simply do not work like that.
The Body of Christ, the Church, is to be “fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,” and Christ “maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). Notice: What joins and compacts the body? Every joint, or every member! And what increases and edifies the body in love? The effectual working of every part!
The Moffatt translation says that “the entire Body is welded together and compacted by every joint with which it is supplied, the due activity of each part enables the Body to grow and build itself up in love.” How does the Family end up welded and compacted, solid and strong? The Family actually must use God’s Spirit to build itself!
That is what families do.
Of course, God builds the spiritual Family. But He does not do it magically. He does it through His Spirit and through your choices and your actions.
No family grows in love without a lot of effort, sacrificing and work!
God’s Family needs you to talk more to children in your congregation. God’s Family needs you to befriend all the other youths your age at the Feast. God’s Family needs you to listen in on and join the conversations of the adults. God’s Family needs you to make dear friendships with seniors. God’s Family needs you—singing hymns, helping with door greeting, setting up sound, taking down chairs, attending picnics, working fundraisers, following Church news, going to camp … being part of the Family.
Not only do you need the Family, but the God Family needs you.