The kingdom of God is all about family. Ephesians 4:4-6 tells us that there is one God and Father of us all. Romans 8:29 says that Jesus is the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. Hebrews 2:11 says that Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. If we don't fully grasp the kingdom from a family perspective, we may struggle to fully embrace all that our Heavenly Dad has intended for us.
I come from a small family. Just my big brother and I. While I will admit to a little sibling rivalry growing up, I am very proud of my brother and all that he has accomplished. I think that he borders on being a genius. Unforeseen circumstances caused him not to be able to graduate high school, but he went on to teach himself multiple computer languages and eventually rose to being one of the tops in his field in software development.
I am happy to boast about his accomplishments even though he wouldn't boast about them himself. The reason that I am so proud of him is simply because he is my big brother. I have walked alongside him all my life and am very excited when he gets blessed. I am sure that he feels the same way about me too.
I think that is how healthy families are supposed to function. They cheer each other on. They celebrate each other's successes, and they console each other when they are hurting. Jesus told His disciples in John 13:35 that the marker that would differentiate them from all others would be the love that they have for one another. In John 15:13, Jesus went on to say... Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (NIV)
Self-sacrificing family love is at the core of the gospel. The disciples went from being servants, to becoming Jesus' friends (John 15:15), to then being called His brothers (John 20:17) and co-heirs of the entire family estate (Romans 8:17). The reason we call each other 'brother' and 'sister' in church is because we have the same Father. Brothers and sisters are intended to cheer each other on and support one another.
There is no greater pain to a father's heart then when he sees his children fighting with each other. I can only imagine what we feel is just a shadow of what our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His kids not playing nicely with each other. Church splits, thousands of denominations, and more sibling rivalry than you can count. This is the legacy of the family of God on earth today.
Sons are meant to live in harmony with their brothers. Those who struggle with an orphan heart don't feel the incredible blessing of being part of such a rich and diverse family. They see themselves as living in an orphan world, filled with other orphans struggling to compete for the few crumbs that fall from the Father's table. When another person succeeds (perhaps in a competing church), they struggle to be truly happy for them. There might even be a hint of jealousy... God forbid!
The truth is that there is plenty of our Father's inheritance to go around for all of us. The unique blessings that are stored up in heaven for each one of us are safe and secure and belong to us. The more that we understand the richness of our own inheritance in Christ, the less we will covet that which belongs to another brother or sister. There is an abundance of food at our Father's table... more than enough for all of us!
My prayer today is that we would ask our Heavenly Father for a greater revelation that we belong to Him and that we are His beloved child. I pray that the extravagant, unending, eternal love of our Father and our Elder Brother would download on each one of us afresh today. May each one of us see with eternal eyes, the vast inheritance that is stored up in heaven for us simply because we are our Father's kids.
May the personal revelation of being part of the family of God free us from judgment, unforgiveness, jealousy and any other orphan related issues that can be common to those who are struggling with orphan belief systems. May a revival of love sweep over the church worldwide so that we would see the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus in John 17:20-23...
20"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (ESV)