I’m learning a deeper realm of commitment to others lately—a broader understanding that springs from the intimate knowledge of God’s commitment to us and how He wants that same commitment of love to motivate our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
As God’s children, we are not only intimately connected to Him but to one another. We are family. Of the same Spirit. Kindred. Siblings. For some, the term “family” conjures up painful thoughts. To others it’s a delight. But just as God is a Good Father, He is teaching us how to be good siblings, kind siblings, loving siblings who love one another deeply—seeing past the flesh and failings to view one another by the Spirit, seeing one another’s true identity and divine destiny….to understand we are connected to one another with a responsibility to that relationship.
In American culture, we are not only prone to live naturally independent lives, but spiritually independent lives too. We may or may not attend church gatherings. We may be involved in church programs, committees, or ministry. But the real question is: how deeply are we committed to love one another, stick by one another, support one another until each comes into the fullness of who God created them to be? How much do we cherish our siblings with favor? Are we inclusive or exclusive?
Do we continually encourage them? Affirm them? Treat them with invitations to fellowship? Are we as hospitable with our siblings as Father God is with us? Or are we only concerned about our own spiritual walk and well-being? When Paul said, “That I may know Him in the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death,” I think he must have been thinking not only about his relationship with the Lord, but his relationship with others, too. Why? Because the sufferings of Christ were for the world and all who would become His brothers and sisters.
The bond of fellowship, hospitality, and caring for one another was a core value of the early church. They were committed to fellowship with God and one another, not in mere words, but in authentic display of love. After all, the church wasn’t birthed from a divine encounter of one, but of the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon one hundred and twenty waiting on God, in fellowship together. If we are only concerned about God’s commitment to us and not His commitment in us toward one another, then we are having an incomplete God encounter in our lives. Why? Because the nature of God is family. No wonder Jesus prayed, “Father, make them one even as We are one.” He knew our self-centered, independent nature, and the dynamics of the flesh that stumbles over one another’s faults.
1 Peter 4:8 says, “Love one another deeply, for love covers a multitude of sins.” I’m joining my prayer today with the Son in asking: Father make us one. Teach us to be committed to one another even as You are committed to us. Begin with my heart.
J Nicole – Being Fathered for a Divine Purpose