From the letter of Paul to Philemon
The way of the disciple is the way of family…”…to Philemon, our beloved brother…” Philemon 1
The way of the disciple is not the way of strangers when applied to believers relating to one another. Paul believed that God had put him into a spiritual family when the Lord saved him. So Philemon became his brother, in the Lord, when he got saved…thus Paul addressed him as beloved brother…not just a fellow inhabitant of planet earth. Paul would teach Philemon that he was now a part of the same spiritual family that Paul and every other believer in Jesus was in. They had the same Father…they were given the same name…they would live in the same faith household…they would be loved the same by their Father and their older brothers, Jesus and Spirit …and they would be given significant roles on mission with Christ…they would fight spiritual battles together…they would deal with difficult situations together…and they would one day live forever with God’s forever family in heaven.
So church, if the way of the disciple is the way of family, what does that make us? We are family…not competitors…not enemies…but brothers and sisters who have been given the same Spirit of God…the Spirit of love and forgiveness for and to each other…the Spirit of truth that will discipline us when it’s necessary, but also who will bind us together and never divide us. So, if we are truly disciples, then we are family! May God empower us to live like it.