Sometimes we need a bit of encouragement in our day as we look around at what is going on in the world. Sometimes it may be because of the bills that keep arriving even though the bank account is empty. Sometimes it is because what we had planned is falling through. Maybe it's because we didn't get into that school we really wanted to get into. It could even be because of your health or the kids, the car, the problems with the house. Face it, there are a lot of things in a normal day that can be a real source of discouragement. So let me be one of the first today to share some encouraging news, perhaps just a reminder. You my friend are a child of God. That's obvious, you say to yourself, but before you are so dismissive of the obvious, I want you to think about it for a couple of minutes.
Think of what Jesus went through just so that you could be adopted into God's family. It was the purpose for Jesus entering into our history:
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:10-13)
I used the word adopted and I have heard it used many times but it is actually more than that. It is true that we have been grafted into the vine but look again at the wording of this verse. Jesus gave us the right to become children of God. Now it is stressed here, not born of natural descent, not born of human decision, not born because a husband wanted a son, but born of God. Read the words again - born of God.
The reason I am stressing this is because we do not always understand the transformation that has taken place in us when we accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord. We often say that we are only sinners saved by grace but we are much more than this. We were sinners who have been transformed into a new creation as we experienced a second birth through Jesus Christ. Let me stress that for you: transformed, new creation, a second birth, changed! Jesus stated it clearly so that we would all understand:
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
We have done ourselves a disservice by only seeing ourselves as being adopted. Yes, there is a sense of adoption because we did not belong to God, however, his act of love has done more than just included us in the family. My oldest son is adopted and I love him dearly. There is no difference between him and any one of my other eight children. He is 100% my son and he has all the rights and privileges as my son. But when I adopted him there was no transformation. His past still existed. He came with whatever health problems were pre-existing. He was a child who became my child through the signature of a judge. Our adoption by God is not like that.
When we are adopted by God as his children we go through a transformation, a re-birthing. We cease to be what we were and we become a new creation. We are no longer like the people around us who are without Jesus. We have been changed and filled by the Holy Spirit. Those around us without Christ are not possessed by the Spirit of God:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am really stressing this because we need to understand that the things of this world should not be given authority over us, yet we give them authority. Health, finances, world disastrous should not affect us as they did before our new birth because along with or re-birth came promises and privileges. One of those privileges is that we can ask Dad for help:
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:23-24)
This does not mean that at the end of our prayer we have to say, "In Jesus Name" but instead that we are asking in the new relationship we have because of the new birth we have received through Jesus. We have a privileged relationship with our Father through Jesus and it is in this relationship we can ask our Father for whatever we need, and he will respond out of his love. Of course, because of our love for the Father we will only ask for things we know will bring him delight to give to us. But he has also given us a flood of promises that we need to be walking in instead of allowing things to have authority over us. Just a few promises:
- his presence always, wherever we go
- never being separated from his love
- he will be our provider
- a defeated enemy
So, look at your day and consider those things you have given authority over you. Whatever you have allowed to bring you worry, fear, and anxiety you have given authority over you. Anything that robs you of your trust in our Father you have given authority to. It is time to wrestle that authority away from these things and give it back to our Father. If you lack anything it is because you have not asked. James put it bluntly:
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)
Sounds like spoiled kids to me who need an attitude adjustment. We all need an attitude adjustment because the lives we are living right now are not bringing glory to God. We act as if we are defeated. We live as if we are poor. We look miserable and we act miserable. We should be ashamed to bear the name of Jesus with such an attitude and outlook on life. We are not these miserable creatures, without hope, without joy, without laughter, without peace, without strength, without power. We are the children of God, transformed by a new birth, the old has gone, the new has come, filled by the Spirit, filled by the power, filled with hope, joy and peace. Nothing has authority over us except our Father who has given that authority to Jesus. This is why we should be encouraged today and it is why we should be about our Father's business. Come on my brother, rise up my sister, shake off the effects of this world and walk in the authority of your new birth. You are a child of God and that means something!