God’s Children

A mother listens to the baby monitor in her three-year-old’s room during “nap” time. Her daughter is engaged in an elaborate tea party. The special guest at the table is her one-year-old cousin who lives and is currently located in another state. The mother smiles as she hears the conversation between “Baby Layne” and “Nor-Nor.” In the little girl’s mind, this is real. The imagination is strong with this one!

It is delightful to enter the mind of a child. There is so much hope, innocence, wonder, and magic there. The purity of a child’s heart is something to behold.

In 1st John, we see the idea of the purity of children used as a metaphor for how we change when we become followers of the Father. We become God’s children. This means that when he appears, we shall see him as his is. Our hope purifies us, as Christ is pure. With the confident innocence of a child, we can approach the throne of God.

1 John 3 (Common English Bible)

 See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are! Because the world didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.

Dear friends, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves even as he is pure.

That purity is in jeopardy when it comes to sin. Sin will be received by the Father as an act of rebellion. Sin separates us from his presence and stains our souls. Thankfully, we know that he appeared to take away our sins.

Every person who practices sin commits an act of rebellion, and sin is rebellion. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. Every person who remains in relationship to him does not sin. Any person who sins has not seen him or known him.

Little children, make sure no one deceives you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous.

John reminds us not to fall into deception. Righteousness is the way of the children of God. It is the life Jesus calls us to live. We are called God’s children, and that is what we are!

See What Kind of Love by Michelle Robertson

Leveling the Playing Field

It is always a shock when we learn that someone we have held in high esteem has committed a crime or egregious sin and has fallen from the pedestal we had put them on. I recently watched a movie that told the story of the head of a very popular news organization and how he fell from his high tower of power when his sexual exploitation of several female employees was revealed. It was an eye-opener.

Perhaps that says more about our tendency to erect pedestals than anything else. Society has a way of creating a hierarchy built on power, wealth, and social status. Sin has a way of knocking all of that down. The only safe pedestal to perch upon is the word of God.

In the twenty-first chapter of Matthew, Jesus had a conversation with the chief priests and elders of the people. They were at the top of the food chain in Israel and loved to flaunt their status. They had the audacity to question Jesus about his authority, as if their self-assigned societal authority gave them the right to question the Son of God.

As if!

See how handily Jesus knocks them off their man-made pedestals:

Matthew 21 (Common English Bible)

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. Now he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’

29 “‘No, I don’t want to,’ he replied. But later he changed his mind and went.

30 “The father said the same thing to the other son, who replied, ‘Yes, sir.’ But he didn’t go.

31 “Which one of these two did his father’s will?”

They said, “The first one.”

Jesus said to them, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering God’s kingdom ahead of you. 32 For John came to you on the righteous road, and you didn’t believe him. But tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. Yet even after you saw this, you didn’t change your hearts and lives and you didn’t believe him.

Whoa, Nellie. That was a deep cut. The prostitutes and the TAX COLLECTORS? Surely that rankled the chief priests. Jesus effectively mopped the floor with their over-blown pretensions and their misunderstanding of “greatness.”

To be the first, one must commit to being the last. To enter the kingdom of God, one must be humble. Securing eternal life requires changing our hearts, minds, and LIVES. Walking God’s righteous road is the way.

Look at the pedestal you are currently standing on. If you see privilege, position, wealth, status, or arrogance there, jump off and save yourself.

Walking The Righteous Path by Kathy Schumacher