To talk about family can be dangerous. This is mine, with our parents. You may have a great family experience, others less so. Yet when God looks at His Church, He is building a family by using the family to build. People who didn’t necessarily choose to be together but through a love for Jesus have been brought together, to build something which would honour our heavenly Father.
The challenge is being willing to let go of what may be good, for the better God has laid up for us. Something I have talked about before with the idea of unlearning.
Family time is good and important. Having fun together, enjoying each others company, making memories and developing a family environment of care and safety are essential parts of building a great family.
Don’t let the pursuit of your family time, which is good, cause you to neglect or get in the way of family time with God’s family.
We have definitely reaped from all the benefits and rewards which are within this family. We would not have succeeded in seeing our girls grow into who they are without the help of God’s family. Extra parents, uncles & aunts, grandparents, people who prayed for us, encouraged us, supported us. In doing so they unknowingly helped us to flourish and brought out the best in us. Credit where credit is due, without this family, our family would not be who and where it is today.
The power of God’s family should never underestimated. When we develop a stronger sense of togetherness we create an environment where God’s power can reside.
In Nehemiah we see how the people demonstrated a certain set of family values which when pooled together brought about a great accomplishment. The wall was rebuilt, but in reality much more than that happened.
They demonstrated togetherness in what may be considered very simple ways but which proved to be very powerful ways. In having a mind to work, a willingness to pray to their God, to set a watch over the land day and night, to be positioned as families as need required, to fight for one another, to see the job completed, to labour until it was done and in trusting in the leader too. [Nehemiah 4].
This attitude towards building is a great picture for how we should build today. We are not building a wall, we are being used by God to build His church, to make His name known across our communities.
God is building a home. He’s using us all – irrespective of how we got here – in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day – a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home [Ephesian 2:19b-22 The Message]
When we build together everything gets set in its proper place. What they built for Nehemiah was more than a wall, they built something which would facilitate all that they needed to prosper and flourish as individuals, as families, as a community, and as a city on a hill.
The gates were placed, doors hung, each contributing to the well-being and growth of each person, each family, the wider community and creating the framework by which God would move. The same is true for us today. As we build together, everything in its proper place, we create an environment where God can move, can command His blessing and then we will see change, in ourselves, in our families, in the community and in His church. [Nehemiah 3]
Salvation. Evangelism. Rejection of Old Ways. Fruitfulness (prosperity). Freedom from Rubbish of life. Healing. Refreshing. Power and ability to fight for God. The Coming of the Lord. Judgement.
Who doesn’t want to see these in their own lives and in our nation? Then we must be ready to display the same family values those who built the wall displayed. To take our responsibility for this generation. To build together. To do the work. Whatever it takes. To pray together. To watch out together for each other. To position ourselves in the family. To stand. To fight for one another not with one another. To see the job completed. Not just for ourselves but for the generations who will follow.
Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful: wise counsel clear understanding simple trust healing the sick miraculous acts proclamation distinguishing between spirits tongues interpretation of tongues. All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when. You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts – limbs, organs, cells – but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain – his Spirit – where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves – labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free – are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. 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. [1 Corinthians 12:7-14 The Message]
Can we do this then. Or is it just a vain imagination. Are we so set in our ways we cannot unlearn our view of family? Let us trust that as we build His family and His home, He loves us more than we love our own families and will not see us short-changed or to miss out on the full life which He promised is ours, in Christ Jesus.