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In Christ You Are a Child of God

 

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Galatians 3:26

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith . . . 

CONSIDER THIS

Today, you have permission to be a child. Neuroscientists are uncovering that one’s ability to play heightens creativity and supports a general sense of well-being. In other words, using our imagination, playing games, playing sports, and more brings good things up in us—and brings bad things down.

You should play more. I should play more. We should all play more.

Now, have you ever imagined playing with God? In other words, can you imagine the same delight filling God’s heart that fills yours when playing with, reading to, singing with, or watching a child? I like to think that Jesus played with the children and that they laughed in his presence.

Could you and I imagine (and yes, there are no verses on this of which I am aware) that God might be young at heart—and aspire to be like him in this? Could we go with God on adventures and plan outings with our Father who loves us?

Jesus was quite clear in Matthew 18:2–5: “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’”

Healthy children are humble, expectant, accepting, quick to love, and ready to believe they are capable of almost anything. Children are also not in a hurry, at least not like adults are. That is because the hurry is not yet in them. They tend to savor life, rather than gulp it down.

I remember my own son, when he was small, stopping on a walk to watch a caterpillar crawl across the path. We were in a hurry to get to our destination. We turned around to find him down on his haunches transfixed by the colorful bug. We slowed down and joined him. For him, enjoying creation was the destination. (Interestingly enough, it still is.)

It is “adulting” (as my children call it), and the challenges and messages that come to us as we age, that slowly draw us away from that childlike state before God and others.

In Christ, we are God’s children. In the Old Testament, Israel was understood to be God’s child (Ex. 4:22). In the New Testament, John reminds us: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12–13).

And what a profound metaphor this is that God chose. The child belongs to the parent, and the parent belongs to the child. They are intended to be joined in the most beautiful way: the child nurtured within the parent’s loving care and the parent delighted by the child’s growth.

The Father’s table in the Father’s house is large and inviting; no background or ethnicity precludes anyone from the table who wants to be there. 

To be a beloved daughter, a beloved son, is to follow in the path of Jesus. In his baptismal waters, the words of love that rang true for Jesus could be understood to ring true for us as we consider today’s verse. An adaptation might be: “This is [my child], whom I love; with [my child] I am well pleased” (adapted from Matt. 3:17). Yes, the words in the gospel were specifically for Jesus. But I also believe that Jesus would say words like this in this same spirit of love to you today.

There is no flourishing in union with Christ without an increasing and healing awareness of our belovedness to him. I am sure I have personally written this at least a hundred times in my life so far—and I’m still looking for ways and opportunities to write it.

I love how Henri Nouwen encouraged us to practice silence in order to perceive the Father’s loving voice speaking to us:

It is not easy to enter into the silence and reach beyond the many boisterous and demanding voices of our world and to discover there the small intimate voice saying: “You are my Beloved Child, on you my favor rests.” Still, if we dare to embrace our solitude and befriend our silence, we will come to know that voice . . . a voice that can be heard by the ear of faith, the ear of the inner heart.1 

It takes faith to become a child. It is through faith that we can achieve it, as we allow God’s Spirit within us to restore to us the tenderness and innocence that only a child can have.

And if I could add one more thing to today’s reflection: perhaps we can learn to play once again, even play with God. He is the Creator of our imaginations, our delights, and our interests. Positionally, before God and before the world, we are God’s child by covenant and union.

But also embrace that you are God’s child personally and experientially. Seek to live a life full of wonder, with a propensity to play as hard as you work, and with a ceaseless expectation that God’s goodness will follow you all the days of your life (Ps. 23:6).

THE PRAYER 

Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. I want to become like a little child, living in loving union with you, my Father. I desire that I would grow young in heart, Holy Spirit, even as I age in body. Let it be, for your glory. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.

THE QUESTIONS

When was the last time you really played? Is there anything that might be holding you back from delighting in the life God has given you, as his child? What do you think it means to be a covenant child of God? What have you learned so far about the reality that you are God’s child?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 

NOTES

  1. Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992, printed in 2013), 77.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. Childlikeness and the Mind of Christ

    To align your mind with Christ requires childlike trust and innocent spontaneity. Then you can learn to freely flow with His Spirit as He actively lives and works within you to continually lead and direct you to His joy unspeakable and full of glory.

    “We have the mind of Christ.” When Christ-followers literally align their mind with Christ’s, they begin to spontaneously overflow with His thoughts and insights.

    Renew your mind by aligning it with Christ’s throughout each day. Then the fruit of His Spirit will ever flow through your consciousness, and He will empower you to demonstrate His presence and reality to those around you.

  2. In my opinion, what it means to live as a child of God , is to come to the deep realization that we are totally dependent on His love and mercy in order to live out our calling into His Kingdom. It is by His Grace alone that we start and are able to finish this journey of faith.

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