We Have Been Adopted And That Means Something
Why is the family of God so important? If you already have a family that you are born into and you go to a good church, what is the big deal about “the family of God”? Why do I need another family?
We explored these questions and more this past week in our youth small groups at my church. I was amazed at how well our youth get it. I stood in front of a group of 6th graders and heard them articulate how before Christ they were orphans but now after receiving Him they are adopted. Ive known adults that didnt get anywhere near this close to understanding the point of Ephesians 1.
The reality is that we are adopted into God’s family, He is our father and that makes us brothers and sisters. Yes moms and dads are called to be moms and dads but that the goal of parents should be to train their children how to be their brothers and sisters in Christ. After all, in heaven there will only be one Father. Our relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ will long out live the other relationships we have here on this earth.
I have heard many studies that have spoken to the issue of increasing social isolation in Americas. One of the more interesting ones was conducted back in 2006 by Lynn Smith-Lovin, a sociologist at Duke University. The Washington Post cited findings from this landmark study:
“Whereas nearly three-quarters of people in 1985 reported they had a friend in whom they could confide, only half in 2004 said they could count on such support. The number of people who said they counted a neighbor as a confidant dropped by more than half, from about 19 percent to about 8 percent.
The results, being published today in the American Sociological Review, took researchers by surprise because they had not expected to see such a steep decline in close social ties.”
It’s time for the body of Christ to be the family Jesus has called us to and to reach out to our increasing isolated culture.
It’s High Time That You Swallow The Red Pill
I remember when the Matrix first came out. It was so mind blowing thinking that someone could be plugged into a computer and have lived their whole life in a virtual world. After the novelty wore off, I shrugged like most moviegoers and chalked the concept up to imaginative Hollywood screen writers. Something like that could surely never happen in the “real world”, I assured myself. Boy was I wrong, and it has taken me a long time to realize how wrong I was.
I dont have a statistic handy, but I would be willing to bet that a majority of Americans under the age of 40 spend as much time a day interacting with a computer as they do other people. This is especially true if you count other electronic devices such as flat screen tv’s, blu-ray players, smart phones, etc. Before you get the idea that I am on a tirade against electronic gadgets please rest assured I am not. I am sitting here listening to Spotify and typing this blog post on my Macbook computer. My point is that the overuse of electronic equipment has become a catch 22.
Think about it for a second. People who are lacking in community tend to fill that void with things like facebook, chatting, and texting. The more they rely on electronic equipment to provide them with interaction the less time they have to invest in others face to face. So the cycle continues until you have whole subdivisions of people who instead of sitting on front porches sharing their lives they are sitting inside glued to their computers chatting with their bff’s 10 states away.
I know I may be exaggerating a little but the upshot is we need to practice the discipline of unplugging from the matrix. You might be surprised to see who lives next door who could use your help. The gospel is spread in such ways.
Maybe its time for you to swallow the red pill.
We Have A Specific Regimen For Becoming Skillful At Gospel Living
Let me begin by saying that I don’t consider myself a golfer. Anyone who has played with me (i.e. my brothers Blake, Ryan, and Joel) would wholeheartedly concur. Despite my low skill level I do understand something about the game. Especially as it relates to the work required to become better at it.
If you want to get your golf score down into the 90′s your task may be tough but it is easily managed. Unless you have absolutely no hand/eye coordination, a golfer who shoots in the 100′s can get his score down into the 90′s in a matter of weeks if he works hard and has a good instructor. Taking your score down to the next level is a completely different story. Unless you are unusually gifted, getting your golf score down from the 90′s to the 80′s or below consistently can take years or may never happen. What is it about the adjustment down from the 90′s that makes this transition so difficult? The answer is that going from the 90′s down to the 80′s means becoming more of a finesse kind of player. This kind of player must understand nuance, detail, and precision.
Living according to the gospel is much like that transition. You can be brought into the family of God in salvation but really learning to live gospel centered and in family with your brothers and sisters in Christ requires fine tuning. This fine tuning comes to us by and large through living as family with fellow believers which is why the body of Christ suffers from a lack of skillful, finesse, powerful Christians. There is no secret to being one of those it just requires following the plan that the Lord has laid out for us in His word. It is precisely when I get out of the habit of living that gospel centered, family life with other believers that I become more sloppy. My score , as it were, begins to slip back up into the 90′s and I loose my precision and focus and become wore worldly.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
That is how a believer becomes skillful at living according to the gospel. That is how we get our “score down”.
How about you? Are you getting more skilled at gospel living by doing life with other believers?