One of the main goals of our faith is to become like Jesus. That means growing more conscious of our identity as children of the heavenly Father, engaged in His business. He meets our deepest needs. Human relationships become less a source of affirmation and security and more a place to express love. Being spiritually alive like Jesus is immensely practical. It will benefit everyone around us.
But even Jesus experienced the tension that sometimes comes from loved ones when we press in to God. It happened when He was twelve years old. His parents had taken Him on an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Three days along the road home, they realized they had not seen Him since Jerusalem. They returned and eventually found Him in the temple.
[Jesus’] mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s [things]?” (Luke 2:48-49)
Most twelve-year-olds would have missed their parents after a day. Jesus was secure and content among the temple teachers, learning the will and ways of His Father. As God’s children we can find complete satisfaction in Him. That does not mean we stand aloof and detached from other people; but it changes the basis of our relationships from getting to giving.
But Mary and Joseph felt hurt by Jesus’ focus on His Father. Did they think He was faking spirituality? Perhaps they assumed that He was insensitive to their concerns. Maybe they had failed to keep up with the signs of His spiritual growth. Is that why Jesus pointed to their lack of knowledge and trust of Him? When relationship with the Father is genuinely deepening it is no threat to anyone. Loved ones should encourage it; it can only help everyone.
Jesus never modified His pursuit of God for fear of hurting His parents or siblings. He continued to obey His Father. Jesus needed no approval from friends and family. He was undeterred by their lack of encouragement but He never reacted out of pain or insecurity either.1
How can we keep from compromising our devotion to God? How do we overcome our fear of hurting people or damaging a relationship by choosing the Father’s will over their wishes? Surely the only way is the way of Jesus. He knew that intimacy with the Father was entirely possible. It was what the Father longed for. Father gladly met Jesus as He pressed in to Him. As we grow closer to the Father He makes us more like Him—more loving, wise, able to act in power. Other people can only be blessed by the life of God in us. They can come to see what God will do in them if they pursue Him as we have. But even if they continue to misunderstand or oppose us we can remain secure in our relationship with the Father.
Please share Bible Maturity with anyone who would benefit from other Bible devotions like this one.
- Elsewhere, Jesus says blood relatives will sometimes turn against us (Matt. 10:35-37; Luke 21:16-17). The true family of God are those who obey Jesus (Matt. 12:46-50). [↩]