“ and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” – Romans 8:17.
In the movie, The Martian, Mark Watney is stranded on Mars and is determined to not die. NASA finds out Mark is alive and has to make the decision whether to tell the rest of the Ares III team that the crew member they had left for dead is actually still alive. One NASA official believes that such a revelation would destroy the crew’s morale and render them unable to complete the journey back home. But another official disagrees, and says the crew should know immediately. His rationale is that they are a family, after all, and that’s not something you keep from families. The crew is ultimately told and they make the decision as a family to sacrifice a year of their lives to return to Mars and save Watney.
We all have biological families. We also may have extended families from marriage. Some of those relationships are a blessing, and some of them are less of a blessing. There are some family members we love to spend time with and some family members we spend time with only out of obligation.
But what about our spiritual family? When we meet together as a spiritual family we do so voluntarily. Intelligence, status, looks, gender, race, do not matter because the common denominator is a love for God and a love for each other. When we meet, we collectively think about ways we can serve God and make the world a better place. Hebrews 10:24-15 gives us insights into why being a part of a spiritual family is so important: “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.”
A Christian builds his or her life into the lives of other believers through the fellowship of a local church. They know they have not yet “arrived.” They need the accountability and instruction of that local body of people called the church. And they need them. We demonstrate to the world that we have been changed.
When we are part of a spiritual community, we have each other’s backs. We meet people whose example inspires us to be better husbands, wives, friends, neighbors, etc. Being involved in a spiritual community also typically puts us in contact with people who have different experiences and different gifts. We build each other up and appreciate each other’s contributions.
The reality is that we cannot demonstrate love or joy or peace or patience or kindness sitting all by ourselves on an island. No, we demonstrate it when we are a part of a spiritual family.
- What do you see as the benefits of being part of a spiritual family?
- What do you see as your role in the church?