April 26, 2018

God’s Gift of Love: A Family of Faith

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 26, 2018

By Tripp Prince

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. 1 John 3:1 (NRSV)

Though our experiences vary dramatically, we can all relate to being in a family. Each of us receives from our family much of who we are, both good and bad. Within a family there are incredible opportunities for life and goodness, yet they are also a source of pain and brokenness for many of us. This is true of our immediate families, but it is also true of the family of God. Within the church we are able to encounter the life and blessing of God, yet we also come face to face with our own brokenness and sin in intimate and personal ways.

At its best, to be in the family of God is to live life in the goodness of God, where we are known and loved perfectly. As John reminds us, we are called children of God, “and that is what we are.” John pressed into the very core of our being, reminding us that our foundational, core identity is belovedness. Do you know this? Can you say “I am known and loved by God?”

To be known is a scary thing. Culturally, we look for all sorts of masks to hide behind. We fear vulnerability and transparency because we have been hurt and seen that honesty exploited and abused. Yet the invitation before us is to sit under God’s word to us and let it reshape our understanding of love and of ourselves. If we can do this, we learn something so profound that it can change our entire lives: you and I are accepted so perfectly, so radically, loved with such safety and care, that we don’t have to hide and pretend.

For some of us, the church is the last place you’d look for safety and comfort. It may have been a place of great pain and suffering in your life. Yet the church is God’s gift to you and to me! Like any family, it is often messy and complicated. It fails in its mission and has not always lived up to its potential. But it can be so good, and is a place where we can take off our masks and learn to live together in safety and security.

We are reminded today that we aren’t left alone or in isolation but God gives us the gift of the church, of a family, to learn together how to grow into the likeness of Christ under the safety and warmth of his perfect, fatherly love. We encounter the love of God and are changed in the process, so that when we see Jesus face to face, it won’t be our first introduction, but we’ll bear the family resemblance. As John says, “we will be like him” (1 John 3:2).

 

Prayer

Father, thank you that you love us and that your love teaches us how to live in perfect love with one another and with you. Amen.

Application

Are there old church wounds that are keeping you from receiving the gift of life lived with the family of God?

Related Reading

John 1:12; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:2

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