We hear and use the word “covenant” a lot in Christian circles. God says he keeps his covenant with his people, and that Jesus ushered in a new covenant when he gave himself for our redemption. But what does “covenant” mean for us today? To start, the reality of covenant in our daily lives means we acknowledge that we are people-in-community rather than lone star individuals. We need each other like fish need water, and to go solo leads only to flopping on dry ground. Our “we-identity” is truer than our “I-identity”.
Second, we experience covenantal relationships when our love for one another imitates God’s affection for Israel. You may recall how the people of Israel were not always lovable. Their disobedience and bad attitudes required God to show faithful commitment. Same with us. When family and friends are unlovable, God calls us to keep on loving. After all, when we are unlovable, we hope others will show gracious love to us!
Third, what this means is that we cannot go around saying and doing anything we please. Hopefully we will speak truth in love. As the proverbs say, the tongue can bring life or death (Proverbs 18:21); in covenant love, we choose life.
When our walk and talk are nourishing, it’s easier to be around each other, yes? God calls us to keep meeting together where we support each other. In a covenant community, we also make decisions together that will benefit everyone. Doing so gives everyone a voice in how we “do community” and as we seek the Lord’s will. When we see ourselves as “we,” speak and act out of love, and come together to influence one another, we grow in Christlikeness. And is that not the goal? In a covenantal community we aim for the whole body to be joined and held together by every supporting ligament, growing and building itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:15
Just as God promises us his covenant love “to a thousand generations,” so we show unending devotion to family, friends, neighbors, the world.
Dear God, thank you for your covenant of love to us. We give you reason to walk away, but you are faithful, over generations. Thank you for your loving loyalty. May we imitate your way with everyone, especially those who belong to your family.
Throughout this Day: Before you start your day, reflect on how God has connected you with others, and what that means in practical terms. How might you speak loving truth with someone or show steadfast love despite them acting unlovable?
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