Read His Words Before Ours!
With seven treasures spanning a few months old to 13 years, managing and leading the relationships in our family is quite a load. Seven kids interacting with one another (plus their own view of themselves) makes for 49 different relationships; add in mom and dad and we now have 63 different relationships going on all at the same time, every single day. Everything from squabbles over who has what toy, to who had the phone charger last, to whose turn it is to feed the dog or which team is in charge of trash day. (yes, we have teams of children :-)) We are constantly working on our relationships with each other and pointing our kids forward towards all the relationships they will one day be involved in as adults. From our perspective as parents, it’s important to keep the visual idea of one single, family unit all working together rather than focusing solely on individuals. This helps us keep the “boat” of our family going in the right direction. We talk to our kids about teamwork, about protecting everyone in the family, and how when we hurt one sibling, it affects the whole family. Even if everyone is having a great day, one child’s attitude (or one parent’s…) can act like a plague, gradually pulling others along with them. But some, incredible nights, the love and unity is so palpable, it’s like you can touch it and wrap yourself up in its sweetness.
A family dinner where everyone shares and laughs, cleanup where each person actually does their specific job, while my husband provides the music for it all as his fingers fly over the piano keys, leading us in the familiar melodies we love.
Those moments, when no one is fighting, and all are loving on each other, are the ones I will carry with me forever, tucked away deep inside my heart. These are the nights where my tender-hearted oldest son will come up to me and whisper with a twinkle in his eye and his arms wrapped tightly around me, “I’ve got that good, good feeling, Mom!”
He’s right, it does feel deeply satisfying. The feeling of love and unity is bliss.
More than that, it’s exactly what Christ longs for within His Bride, the Church.
Unity and a deep seeded love that overflows naturally with radiant joy.
In Romans 12:1, we hear God’s heart for His church in the pleading words of Paul, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Multiple bodies, each of us fulfilling our personal responsibility to live a life of love, but only one sacrifice. It only makes sense in the context of unity within the church Body. It’s not about individual performance, rather the massive, overarching focus is unity in the body. The “sacrifice” isn’t carried out by individuals, rather the sacrifice is one, singular gift, given by the Body as a WHOLE. Far from performance driven, with the weight of sacrifice being carried on your shoulders or mine, the sacrifice is offered up by the whole Body, as a gift to the bridegroom.
The image of my family living out love together on those precious evenings is one, collective sacrifice of fragrant love being lifted to God. Are we each sacrificing? Sure, playing with Legos is likely preferable to wiping the table, but the pure joy of working together, of being together, of working out our specific tasks for the betterment of everyone as a whole far outweighs any self-focused pleasure one might find in playing Legos by themselves.
And so it is with following Jesus.
When Christ remade us, He also repurposed us, giving us a new directive to live out the passions He had already crafted inside of us. Compassion for others, generous living, teaching, writing, hospitality, preaching, leading, building….whatever your passion, Jesus meant it for a new purpose. With His Spirit inside of us, and a new heart beating with His passions, He repurposes us to work together within the Body in order that we might offer a sacrifice to Him as His Bride.
As He remakes you, catch the vision of all that He has for you as He repurposes you for much within His kingdom!
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