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Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, March 26

“I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.”
—John 5: 30

Growing up is funny, isn’t it? When we’re children, we imagine being on our own and experiencing a life of happiness. These feelings intensify as we get older, and often as young adults, we begin to distance ourselves from our parents in an attempt to create our own individuality. To a degree, such self differentiation is important, for if we don’t differentiate, we end up unable to sustain relationships that work.

But as we become our own person, as we begin to explore the journey of our individual lives, something happens along the way. For most people it occurs in their late 20s or possibly in their 30s. One day, often when a career is set and success is coming, we find ourselves remarkably similar to our parents or our family.

Sure, we’ve identified ways to become ourselves and to be the people that we believe we were created to be. But looking in the mirror, the goal that appeared so important just years earlier, that goal of being a complete and independent self, passes away as our connections become more important.

So it is in the family of God. As we become Christians and walk into God’s great and marvelous family, we are introduced to all the disciples and apostles of the past. We want our own way, our own individual path, but in reality, it is our relationship to the great crowd of witnesses that is most important.

For through them and all that has passed before us, we inherit the tradition of God’s faithfulness. It’s at that moment that we realize that we don’t do things of our own authority, as mere individuals alone in the sea of faithfulness. Instead we do things as part of the family of God, and the authority granted to the whole family through Jesus Christ is ours to claim.

So, realize you are an individual. But likewise, realize that your individuality within the family of God does not have to stand on its own. The authority of those who have gone before you, those sometimes named and those often unnamed, has shaped and formed you. They have given you the possibility of life today. Let the whole family be a part of your faith and let the faith come from above.

God you have surrounded me with faithful witnesses to your love. Reveal your family to me, that trusting in your faithfulness through them, I may find the authority you seek for us all through your Son Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.