Happy Valentines Day to all you who are members of the 3rd Race! YOU are a vital part of God’s very own family! YOU have been fully adopted and accepted as precious daughters and sons of the Good Father!
But what does it mean to be adopted into this new spiritual family?
I’m thinking very practical on this V-Day. How do we function together as God’s family in the earth?
Well, fortunately, the New Testament has A LOT to say about this. In fact, there are at least 58 “one another” passages among the NT letters.
These passages describe in detail what a NT community of Christ’s followers would look like.
I was going to type out all of these passages, but I found a cool graphic that lists each one. But before I get to it, let me share a few things I’ve learned about living together as God’s spiritual family:
- By “spiritual family”, I mean that we are connected by the Spirit of Christ living inside of us. Jesus Christ is the tie that binds this family together. It is not our political leaning, our doctrine or theology, or even our own personal preferences. It is Jesus Himself. Therefore, whoever calls Jesus Lord is our brother and sister. We don’t get to pick and choose – we must accept whomever the Lord Himself accepts.
- I have observed that a lot of conflict among a Christ-community takes on a different feel when we transition out of a religious (referring to organized religion, which largely functions like a business) mindset and into a family mindset. Instead of thinking about how to be right or win an argument, healthy families look for a win-win, or even a lose-win solution that ultimately preserves the unity of the family above all else.
- Truly living as a family in Christ can be beautiful, powerful, practical and messy. It is amazing to live among a large extended family who care for and look out for each other. But as you spend time with each other you will see each other’s flaws and shortcomings. Don’t be scared by this – humble yourself to use these opportunities to be further conformed to Christ.
- Family life is real life, folks. Things that you don’t want to be exposed eventually will be. That’s the nature of growing close together. Thankfully, we are living by Someone who is grace, mercy, forgiveness, and peace.
- And on the practical side, a family in Christ looks out for each other and tries to help each other daily. Watchman Nee called this having a “body consciousness”, an awareness of the needs of the body/family. If there is a family with children, offer to watch their kids so the parents can have a night alone. Invite those who are single or don’t have financial means over to dinner. It doesn’t take much extra for a family meal to feed one more. Encourage each other, pray for each other, exercise together, shop together, vacation together – you get the idea. If you develop a “body/family consciousness” you will discover endless ways to practically serve one another.
- As we’ve stated here on the blog many times – none of this is possible without an indwelling Lord. If we are not dependent on Him and living by His life, the family is not going to survive. Instead, we will struggle against each other because the flesh is self-serving, not others-serving.
Okay, here’s the list of all of the “one-anothers” in the NT:
Follow the “one-anothering” LIFE!
One Another Graphic Credit
Photo Credit: A collage of family life in Christ made by me. The actual collage is 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall.