The Household of God
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” NIV
Once, when Jesus was ministering to the people, someone came and told Him that his mother and brothers and sisters had come to look for Him. “Who are my mother and my brothers,” he asked? It was not that He was rejecting his earthly family but rather He was using the occasion to define His spiritual family. “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother,” He declared. That’s God’s definition of “family.” His family were all those who did the will of God.
This really goes against the popular culture of Christianity today which suggests that every one is part of God’s big happy family, no matter the attitude of their heart or the choices they make. They think they can live as they please, and do as they wish, and still be part of God’s family. They think that just because they have made a one time confession of faith in Christ they no longer have any further obligation to obey Him except perhaps in word only. Or they choose a sundry list of things that is convenient for them to do and consider that enough to qualify them to be part of God’s family.
This is a great deception.
The word of the Lord declares otherwise. “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” And it is not the only reference. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said something even more startling: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Just think about this for a moment. Here comes a man who performed many miracles in the name of Jesus – perhaps he healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons and worked many signs and wonders; he could well have had a great prophetic ministry, published books and had many admirers – but Jesus said to him that he never knew him and rejected him!!! And all because that man did not do the will of the Father. While the world admired him for his spiritual leadership, God alone knew that he had resisted the will of God and for that he was rejected.
What makes us think that God would not hold us to account in a similar way?
What is the will of the Father but that we believe in His Son and obey Him. It means to be faithful to the word of God – both the written word and the word He speaks to our hearts, the words that only we hear.
God understands the struggles that we all go through. He knows that we all stumble and fall and do many foolish things. He is not harsh and legalistic, waiting to cut us off from the household of God every time we fall. But I believe that what concerns Him is the attitude of our hearts. Are our hearts truly committed to Him and bent to His will? Are we committed to seeking His will and doing it? And not once in while or when it is convenient for us to do so.
It calls for endurance. As Paul said in Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” God thinks we can do it. He has given us the Holy Spirit and He is ever interceding for us. He waits for that day when He can welcome us into His kingdom saying “well done, good and faithful servant.”
So persevere. Do the will of God. “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” (1 Timothy 6:12-13)