Seeing the Church as Family
The New Testament uses several analogies to describe the church. You've probably heard some of them: the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7), a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). These all have to do with identification—what the church is.
Our identification then serves to inform us about what we do. For example, the church is the body of Christ, therefore we work together in unity; the church is the bride of Christ, therefore we pursue and love our bridegroom, Jesus; the church is a priesthood, therefore we connect people to God. And notice, these are things we all do together, precisely because of who we are as the church.
Take a moment now to consider another of the church's descriptors: the family of God (Mark 3:31-35). What are some of the implications? If we are the family of God, how do we live and interact with one another? Or better stated, how should we? Here are some of my own considerations. The church is the family of God, therefore we:
Honor and obey our heavenly Father.
Run to our caring Father when we're hurt or in need.
Turn to our wise Father when we need counsel.
Love and support each other as brothers and sisters.
Eat meals and spend time together as one household.
Play our part in the administration of our "home" (The laundry has to get done, the lawn has to be mowed, the dishes have to get washed, the bills have to get paid, etc).
Invite, welcome, and serve guests in our home with warm hospitality.
Open our kitchen pantry and share with our neighbors who need some sugar.
What else can you add to this list? The church is the family of God, therefore...? Spend some time thinking through your identity as a member of God's family, then ask God to help you live it out!