"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." Ephesians 5:12
Be imitators of God and walk in love. Do you know how HARD that is sometimes? Seriously. It doesn't take but one errant comment from someone, and after that you spend days and days not even wanting to be around that person. This happens often I think in the body of Christ. Most often, these instances are completely non-intentional, but great church splits and divisions have happened simply because some people started to not get along so much. There was a lack of love, and the love of God was all but forgotten for a time.
And then I am reminded that the body of Christ is a family, and I see that things may not be as they appear.
I always love my family. Always. Oh, there are times where my husband may drive me bonkers, or a brother or sister will do something to irritate me, but you know there is always love there. That love never, ever goes away for any reason. I may be annoyed or irritated for a time, but there is still always love.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are always to love one another, and I think the practice is not as hard as we make it out to be. If we honestly and truly accept that these people who we are surrounded by ARE our brothers and sisters, that love should really just be there! Think about that for a second. Those times when someone really gets under our skin? Maybe we do need to just not be near them for a few days, but we also need to pray about it, and really take into our hearts and our minds that that particular person is our brother or sister. And I would bet that before long, those negative feelings will be replaced by great love and understanding. Family love is just like that.
There are different denominations and churches around the world who practice calling each other sister or brother, and I think it's something that we should see by example and put into practice in our own lives.
You know, I adore and love my brothers and sisters. Every single one of them all the time- and they are such treasures to me in my life. But to think that I have so many more brothers and sisters within the church is just mind-blowing to me. And wonderful. When I think about some of the dear relationships that I've made...it's just something really wonderful to think on this morning, and I am thankful that God dropped these thoughts into my mind. I have always been the oldest of my natural brothers and sisters, but in the family of God, I have older brothers and sisters who I can rely upon in times of need. I have older sisters that I can trust in confidence with a matter of the heart when needed. I have older brothers who delight in spending time with my children and lending a hand with a task around the house if needed.
All these thoughts on brothers and sisters and love are really aimed at one of the true goals for the body of Christ: Unity. I think when we really and truly can get into our souls the idea that we are all brothers and sisters in Him, that unity of the body will come with it. And while I cannot change the hearts and minds of every Christian around the world, I can start at home with my heart and my mind. I can check my attitude towards other believers, and I can learn to always, always fall back on love to correct me.
Love is an amazing thing, love is what Jesus showed us when He gave up His live for the whole world. If He was willing to die for all of His brothers and sisters, can we not at least learn to get along and stand together in times of need? Sometimes love can mean sacrifice- particularly a sacrifice of our time. And sometimes love can mean an offering to God, and God loves that. He loves it when we offer up our love freely to others when they need it. When we imitate Him, we're really just pleasing Him and making Him a truly proud Papa.
Let's love. And let's love big. The family is worth it.