September 22, 2015

Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.

The glorious reality of the Family of God is one that resonates more in some churches than others. In some churches, unity seems to be based more on externals than on common faith in a common Lord, and that is sad. However, some churches indeed display the glorious unity of the Spirit, and that transcends even blood ties. Actually, though, the unity of the Spirit is a blood tie: the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, just as Paul wrote about in the verses before this one. The way to enjoy the unity of God’s family that He intends is not to focus on “we’ve got to have more unity,” but on our common Lord who makes it possible. In my observation, the vast majority of problems in the Church can all be solved by lifting our eyes off of ourselves and fixing them on Christ. That’s simple to say, but frankly not always so easy to do. We are very used to looking at ourselves first, and if we get around to it, looking occasionally at the people around us. Looking at Jesus doesn’t even enter into the picture. It is frankly impossible to have spiritual unity that way, and that is a huge loss. If we call God “Father,” then we should realize that we are indeed members of the same family, brothers and sisters to each other.

I have experienced the unity of the Family of God in a wide variety of places and I have failed to sense it in some surprising ones. I find that familiarity and status are all too often the criteria for acceptance. I have gone into churches and been totally ignored, or gotten looks like, “What are you doing here?” and then been introduced as a missionary (high status) and people suddenly become effusive. That’s not the Family of God! (Actually, I’ve also been introduced as a missionary and gotten, “So what?”) In our church, that is cross-cultural by definition, we enjoy a good bit of the unity of the Spirit, but those who fail to operate in it are consistently those who can’t get their eyes off of themselves. Self-centeredness never produces anything good! I must be gentle and firm, speaking the truth in love so that people may be liberated to walk in the fullness of all that God has done for us in Christ.

Father, thank You for all that You did for and through us yesterday, and all that You have planned for today. May we be Your agents of grace and love to each person we encounter, drawing them into the unity of Your family, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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