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Tag: family

Rom. 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.”
The day has finally come.  You have been anxiously awaiting this moment.  Finally, no more moving from house to house.  No more foster parents.  Finally, a permanent home!  But what will life be like?  How do you suddenly call people who were not previously part of your life family?  How will life change?  So many questions are running through your mind as your adoptive parents come to receive you.  You are happy, but also apprehensive.  At the house, the children there are excited about having another sibling, but now they too have questions.  Does this new child have the same rights and privileges as we do?  Will the new child receive the same attention?  While this example is an earthly example, it can also apply in the kingdom.  How do I fit into the family of God?  What if those in the family of God treat me as different because I come into the family with a different background, and different experiences?
The psalmist wrote “He gives families to the lonely, and releases prisoners from jail, singing with joy! But for rebels there is famine and distress.” (Psa. 68:6 TLB) God takes those who are lonely and sets them in a family; but does that mean that the tendency to be lonely immediately disappears?  Not at all!  There is a proverb that warns us what happens when we demand our own way instead of the new way of life in a family:
Prov. 18:1 He who separates himself indulges his desires and shows contempt for sound advice of any kind. (CJB)
In other words, just because we are adopted into a family, doesn’t mean we receive the adoption in our minds and in our hearts.  In fact, in the passage in Romans, the word “received” could easily be translated “to lay hold of” or “to seize.”  These are much more aggressive terms than to receive.  Here is how the Lord Jesus described it:
Matt. 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of the heavens is taken by violence and the violent seize it. (BLB)
This spirit of adoption must be seized by each child.  This adoption is a bilateral agreement, where both parties must act.  The adoptive family must bring me in, but I must also seize this spirit of adoption.  I must lay hold of this adoptive influence.  How, then, will others know that I am now part of this family?  Through my actions.  I am transitioning from being an independent person to being a dependent child.  This is a challenge for us today, especially when we have been raised to be independent people in the flesh.  Simply put, we cannot do it alone.  We need each other to remind us that God has not abandoned us, and has provided us with an eternal family.  We must provoke one another to shed the baggage of the past independent life and enjoy life in this new family.  We are to remind one another of the rules of the house, which we are expected to obey.  That obedience is proof of our adoption.  Your adoptive family has received you; the question is have you received your adoptive family?

Gods-familyGenesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
When we read this passage, it is simple to look at it on its surface and determine that God was establishing the institution of marriage.  But what if the Lord God was revealing a larger spiritual concept?  Perhaps it is time to look at this passage afresh with a renewed mind.  In order for us to reconsider this passage, we must first look at another passage from Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus:
Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
This is the only time the word family occurs in the King James Version of the New Testament; however, this occurrence contains a wealth of spiritual understanding.  The Greek word for family is patria, which is derived from the root word pater.  The Greek word pater is the word father in English.  Notice in the preceding verses that both the word Father and family appear.  Since the word family has its roots in the word father, it is clear that a father is the necessary foundation for a family.  But what constitutes a family?  It is a family that God was creating in Genesis 2.  A family is a singular unit, which is precisely what God said that a man and his wife become – one flesh, or one unit.  We see this concept of family in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  In the Old Testament, God calls Israel his wife:
Isaiah 54:
For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.  For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
God’s intent has always been to establish a family, a truth that is affirmed in the New Testament:
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
We also see this relationship in John’s vision in the book of Revelations:
Revelations 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Marriage, then, is the institution by which the family is created.  Children are not a requirement in order for a family to be established.  A husband and a wife constitute a family.  
God’s focus and intent has always been the family.  Nowhere is this made clearer than the promise God makes in Psalms:
Psalms 68:God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
Notice that God promises to set the solitary in families.
While God does not promise marriage to every man and woman, he does make it clear that those who have been outcast will be set in a family.  What can a person receive in a family?  The two things that are needed for one to live a fulfilled life on this earth: nurturing and significance.  Mothers nurture, and fathers give significance.  As human beings, we need both.  No one knows this better than the Lord God himself, which is why he puts us in families.  This is what Adam and Eve represent – a family.

01-bearing-one-anothers-burdens4Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
What are tribulations?  Simply put, tribulations are severe trials or sufferings.  The root of the word tribulation is a Latin word tribulare, which means to press or squeeze.  But why would a loving God require this of us while we are here on earth?  Even the Lord Jesus prayed that if there was any way possible for Him to avoid His cup of suffering, God would grant Him a way of escape.  It is in our human nature to avoid suffering at almost any cost. Most people don’t look forward to pain and suffering; indeed, many have been told in life that experience is not always the best teacher.  Yet, there is no reward that is received that was not preceded by some degree of sacrifice and suffering.  It is more than coincidence that the garden which Christ was in during His darkest hour was the Garden of Gethsemane.  The very name Gethsemane means oil-press.  It was the place of suffering.  Yet, Christ could not have been raised from the dead unless He had first suffered and died.  This is the pattern He set for us.  Likewise, we cannot be raised to life unless we first suffer and die.  It is easy to say we desire a heavenly reward; however, have we counted the cost of what is required of us to receive that reward?  There is no reward without competing, there is no competing without training, and there is no training without suffering.  It is for this very reason that our Lord admonished us that the road to life is not only narrow, but hard, and that there will be few that find it.  Christ had to travel the path alone, for He was the prototype.  We, however, were not created to carry such a burden by ourselves:
Gal. 6:2 Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
It was for this very reason that we were baptized into one body – the body of Christ.  We don’t enter into the kingdom alone; we enter into the kingdom together.