Everyone wants to be a part of a family—to have a home to relax in, to be surrounded by a group of people who love and care for you no matter how you’ve treated them. This is exactly how our experience with church should be: family. But because there is always some sort of dysfunction in the families we grew up in, we come into church with preconceived beliefs about what a family should be.
Galatians 6:10 talks about helping all people, especially those who “belong to the family of the believers.” Our experience of church is determined by our love and desire for relationships. The more hidden and isolated we are, the more we stink at relationships. The better you are at loving and enjoying the relationships in God’s family, the better you will be at building God’s family and helping it grow stronger.
To be a part of God’s family, we have to change our perspective on what family is.
So what makes the church different? Yesterday, I learned three ways that this family stands out from all others.
What Makes Us Different
1) This Family Stays Together
All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
Acts 2:44-46 (NIV)
The first century family of believers didn’t just hang out at church, they were together all the time. They weren’t happy to get away from each other, they stuck together. They stuck together because they loved each other. If this isn’t what we experience, then we don’t experience the church.
What’s your view of family? Do you believe that if someone doesn’t make you feel good, they must be wrong? Or instead of looking how someone’s wrong, do you look for how they’re right? Family doesn’t argue, they listen.
2) This Family Won’t Compete
14-18 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
1 Corinthians 12:14-18 (MSG)
When everything is a competition, we quit because we don’t get what we want. We don’t get the role we wanted, and get jealous of the person who did, so we give up. But in the church, we work together as a family with different roles, but with the same purpose—to continue to build up God’s family.
3) This Family Values Intimacy
If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
1 Corinthians 12:19-21 (NIV)
When a family is intimate, they see their need for each other. The only way to build our family of believers is to be vulnerable and see our need for each other and work together for our greater purpose.
- What dysfunction from your family alters your perspective of the church?
- Which of the three areas of family do you have the hardest time with?
- What’s your role in the family?