Join the Club...

Every year at the start of the school year, I would have my eighth graders write an Autobiographical Essay.  This would give me a chance to get to know them, and also gauge their writing skills. 

One year, a student cracked me up.  She started her essay with something like this:

Starting school each year is sort of like getting a new dog. You never can tell if the dog is a good fit until you’re a few months into ownership. It’s the same thing with teachers. They can smile and seem super nice on the first day, but you don’t find out what they are really like until you’re a few months in to school. And with both situations, there’s no changing it. You’re stuck.
— Snarky 8th Grade Student

While I’m not usually a fan of being compared to a dog, I chuckled (not an evil teacher chuckle!) and felt her analogy was fairly accurate. There’s a lot we can’t control.

Many things in life are similarly thrust upon us. We just don’t have a choice in the matter.

Family is one of those things.

God, in His great wisdom and design, decided to put us in families. Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families…”

All families are different. We don’t get to choose what kind of mom, dad, siblings, or extended family we have.  We get plopped right into the middle of it!

Photo by Ben Duchac

Photo by Ben Duchac

The Original.

God is all about Family.  He designed the universe this way. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all exist and interact in perfect unity - the True Family. 

They ARE Love.  So there’s this intense, whole-hearted love flowing between them. Always. For all eternity. 

I don’t know about y’all, but for me and most people I know, family is messy. It doesn’t always look like perfect unity forever. But it’s still beautiful, and God designed it to help us grow into His Image.

And this is what's cool to think about:

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have this amazingly perfect Family-Club. They always do what’s best for the other and glorify each other and really LIKE each other.

The insane part:

They have given YOU an invitation to join this Family.

They want you in their club.

The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit. You.

They want to enjoy you and experience you in Their Family. Just as you are. Not when you’re perfect later, but right now. 

God is excited about you. Yes, messy little you. With your weak Love. 

And this is a Family that you get to choose (even though technically God chose you first). 

When I think of True Family, I can’t help but picture long meals during holidays and lingering over the table with coffee and good conversation. Lot’s of laughter and bright eyes and merriment.

When I picture the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit inviting me into the full, True picture of that, it’s almost too much for my heart to hope for. But I realize that God truly desires that kind of fellowship with me. With you.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
— 1 John 3:1

The Goods.

Being a part of God’s Family has some crazy ramifications. When we see the invitation, and realize it’s not a gimmick, that God really wants us in that kind of a close relationship, we can open wide our hearts and say, “YES! I WANT THAT!”

See, when we believed in Jesus, and surrendered our lives to Christ, we joined the Family. We are IN - no ifs, ands, or buts. It’s done. 

But closeness isn’t easy for everyone. There can be hang ups. Sometimes it’s easier to be that great aunt or uncle twice removed and sit on the outskirts of family than to walk into the midst of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and trust that They truly want YOU. You have a seat at the table, right next to God Himself.

John 15:9 kills me. Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” 

If you’re not sure about this Family invitation, this seals it. The kind of Love that God the Father has for Jesus, His only Son - that has been extended in all it’s fullness to YOU. 

Say yes to it. Stay there. Hang out awhile. Go rummage around in the fridge and kick your feet up on the couch. GET. COMFORTABLE. WITH. THIS. LOVE.

Some amazing things happen when we abide in and get comfortable with this Family:

  1. Family rubs off on each other. I’m one of those people that really easily picks up mannerisms from those I hang out with regularly. Especially from family.  My brothers and I all have similar facial expressions and meter of talking. Not only do we look alike, but we sound alike. This happens with God too - the more we engage in His family, the more we start to shed our own messy mindsets and we start to think like Him, talk like Him, and look a little more like Him.
  2. Our identity shifts. There’s something powerful about being connected, having roots, and knowing our heritage. It’s sheds light on who we are. When we realize Who we come from, and what kind of spiritual DNA we have, it frees us to walk in our True Identity. The lies of the enemy look pitiful when we are standing shoulder to shoulder with Our Father. 
  3. Our concept of Family changes, like whoa. The more I experience Family as Jesus lines it out in John chapters 15 and 17, the more I want to reproduce it - in 2 specific ways:
    1. I want to express this amazing invitation to EVERYONE!  This is the coolest club!  Come BELONG! 
    2. Also, the more I experience this Family reality with God, the more I want to reproduce this in my own earthly family.  I pray for unity in my family, for God’s love to be at work instead of my own weak love, and for His will to be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Make our family like Your Family, Jesus! What better way to bring Him glory? This is one of the best ways to preach the Gospel - by loving our family well: John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

While our earthly families often come with baggage and a lot that needs to be redeemed, consider God’s original design. Let this picture of True Family seep into your heart. You belong here.

In what ways does your perspective of Family need to shift? How different would life be if you embraced your role in this God Family and took your seat at the table? Just. Say. Yes.