Millions of people from around the globe spent their summer months this year on “Baby Watch”. You see, a very special child was about to be born! Although some scoffed, many, many more waited in anticipation, which turned to sheer delight (admittedly I was one of them) when news broke that the son of Prince William and Princess Kate had arrived.
Little Prince George; born to earthly parents, with an earthly title that will someday allow him to be the royal figurehead of a tiny Island country in the upper (and arguably much colder) corner of planet Earth for a relatively short period of time.
Yet the identity of this child, because of who his parents were, made him a very special little boy!
Being a Child of God then has to be a few steps up from being a temporal “prince on Earth”…right? You would have to think so. A Child of God! What a moniker; what a title to have bestowed.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
1 John 3:1
But look at many Christians today it would be a pretty hard conclusion to come to. Ask them if they understand that they are God’s child and they’ll likely say, “Um yeah, sure…I suppose so,” with a conviction that sounds like Step 4 in a sermon they heard on 7 Steps to Knowing You Are A Child Of God.
When Paul encourages the church in Galatia though with an understanding of their position in God’s household he does it in slightly different, and more convincing, terms.
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Galatians 4: 6-7
Many Christians fail to live in the fullness of their position as God’s son or daughter because deep down they truly believe they don’t deserve it. We feel our behavior is inconsistent with being a Prince of Heaven so we prefer to keep the whole child of God thing on the down low.
We Christians can be so silly some times…
Let me ask you this; What behavior did the new born baby Prince George display that gave him the right to be heir to the Throne of England?
The answer is, of course, nothing!
Little Prince George did nothing to deserve being the future King other than have an identity given to him because of who his parents are.
Likewise God, by his Spirit, has birthed you anew and given you a new identity as his child. You did nothing to deserve it and you can do nothing to lose it!
It’s who you are now! You ARE a Son! You ARE a daughter!
I’ve watched Prince William grow up since he was born. When you see him now you can’t help but be struck by the fact that he has a “royal” feel about him. He speaks graciously and confidently. He is very debonair. He also appears to have a genuine compassion for people and a desire to use his position for the benefit of others in his country.
When he was born though he wasn’t much different from you or me. He couldn’t walk, spoke gibberish, and soiled his diapers just like any one of us. But over the years he changed. He had an identity given to him that you and I don’t have. As he grew, the qualities I mentioned began to become more and more apparent in his life.
Prince William didn’t receive his identity because of his behavior, instead his behavior was shaped over time by his identity!
Jesus as Son
When we feel weak and we are tempted to do something we know we shouldn’t, its our identity that’s always called into question.
We become insecure about who we really are!
Jesus was never insecure or confused about his identity. His way of embracing it shows us the way to embrace ours.
At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus is baptized. At that moment, God himself affirms the position and love he has for his son!
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
It’s no coincidence then that as soon as Jesus has his identity affirmed by the Father, it was called into question almost immediately. Satan comes to Jesus when Jesus is at a physically weak moment and tempts him. But the root of his temptation is questioning Christ’s identity as God’s son.
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down…
…Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Matthew 4: 3-7
Are you really God’s son? Jesus was very hungry at this point (he’d been fasting 40 days). He was out in the wilderness cut off from everyone. He probably wasn’t feeling very:
In that moment Satan tried to plant doubt into his heart. To cause him to forget who he was! Jesus instead responds not from his own strength, but from what his Father declares. He doesn’t defend from his behavior (although if anyone could have it would be him) but from his identity as a son!
How about you? Do you ever not feel like God’s child? It’s at those times we need our divine identity to shape our thoughts, motivations, and behaviors.
Out of His love for you, God has indeed called you His Child!
Let that identity shape who you are!