Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Brighten The Corner Where You Are"1 (Lyrics)
Have you ever tried to trace your family lineage to find out who your ancestors were and where they came from? Sometimes, a family tree can become so dense and tangled that it is more like a family shrub! Broken marriages can result in broken branches in the family tree, but strong genetic bonds still connect families in ways that are like no other relationships.
The family of God is similar in some ways to our earthly lineage, but it also bears some striking differences. Our family of faith does not consist of blood kin in a genetic sense, but we are, rather, blood-bought kin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, an old southern tradition is to call fellow congregants "Brother" and "Sister" So-and-So.
As fascinating as my personal family story is to me, I'm also deeply moved as I consider my place in the universal family of God. When we grow up in a Christian family or have a loving body of believers in our church, we experience this faith-connected family bond on a small scale.
Christians in our own locality, however, are only a small portion of the worldwide family of God. I have been blessed to be able to worship with fellow believers in France, Madagascar, and Brazil. Though the language, music, and mode of worship may be very different, there is a unity in Christ that transcends the cultural differences. What a joy it will be when we meet together at the feet of Jesus!
Revelation 7:9a – After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. (NLT)
An interesting phenomenon to me is how we can meet someone new and somehow identify them as a brother or sister in Christ when we know little or nothing else about them. It's as though the indwelling Holy Spirit in each of us serves as a sort of internal magnet to draw us together in mutual recognition. A simple word or action may be enough to reveal that a stranger on the bus, in the store, or in the dentist's office is also a follower of Christ.
Is there any other group spread around the world that is held together by such strong bonds of unity? There may be other international groups that hold the same interests, values, or philosophies, but few can claim the universality of our unity of faith. How blessed we are to be members of God's eternal family. Hallelujah! Let's rejoice in God's marvellous design of this family of faith — and do our part to bring its growth as we share our faith and live it out.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, how blessed we are to be able to call You our Father. Thank You for binding us, Your children, together in families of faith as we travel together through this challenging world. Amen.