The Family Of God
By: Kristen L. McNulty
Reprint rights available on request. Email the author at email@example.com.
Growing up my brother, sister and I were very close. We spent a lot of time together and with only three years between each of us, we even had many mutual friends. In fact in our early twenties the motto in our social circle was "see one McNulty and you see them all".
But for most people, when they would first meet us, they would have a hard time believing that we were related. Why? Because while many families have very similar physical attributes, we as siblings don't look very much alike at all. My sister and I are night and day, as are my brother and my sister. My brother and I share a few similarities, but you've got to dig deep to notice them. And not one of us looks remotely anything like my mom. Our shared DNA expressed itself very differently in each one of us.
Yet while physically no one could tell the relation after a glance or two or three, most people who know us well don't have a hard time believing that we are related. Why? Because of our personality and behaviors. I've been told that we have very similar facial expressions and I'm well aware that we have a unique sense of humour that many people don't exactly get. We use similar phrases and we react to situations in similar ways. While the makeup of our eyes, hair, smiles, noses and cheekbones have little in common, there is no mistaking whose family we are a part of by the way we act.
When you are a part of a family, whether you have the same DNA or side profile or not, your personality and characteristics are automatically influenced, good or bad, by that family. Family is such a powerful thing that when you are in one, you will change and be influenced by it.
So maybe that's why it's such a powerful thing that not only are we saved when we believe, but we are actually adopted into God's family. On the surface we may look completely different or have very different backgrounds, but when we accept our place as God's children, we have a common bond that connects us and a common relationship that transforms us into being more like Christ.
We as Christians might not be able to recognize each other on sight, but we should be able to recognize each other by actions, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.
But that only works when we accept our rightful place in the family and start acting like a member of it. Like we're instructed in Romans 8:15-16: "So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into His family- calling Him 'Father, dear Father.' For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children."
As we can see in that verse, we have a choice to make when we come to know Christ. We're accepted into God's family, but we do have to make the choice of acting like it. We can continue to live like outsiders, or we can embrace our God-given place in His family.
Because truly being part of God's family should change the way we behave. Just like we as kids can be the chip off the old block when it comes to our earthly parents, all of us as God's children should make it our mission to start behaving like we're part of God's family. That means striving to be more like our Heavenly Dad and striving to love and embrace our new brothers and sisters in Christ, whether they look like us or not.
Just like someone who is adopted has the choice whether or not they embrace their adoptive family as their own or not, we too have that choice. We can continue to live our lives with our only sense of family being with those who share our DNA, or we can accept the invitation to be an active member of the ultimate family- God's family. A family that while not perfect, is what our Father intended and the best place for any of us to be to grow and thrive in this world.
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