Living Life as a Child of God
As a child of God, we are to love our Heavenly Father dearly. The love is to blossom into a hunger for His presence and desire to please Him. For love to God to grow, an understanding of His love towards us is important. And once the love for God grows, our nature as a child of God will be to do His will and obey His commandments.
We have a parable of two sons which conveys a strong message. Jesus was teaching in the temple when he spoke about this parable. A man had two sons, he told the first son to go to the vineyard and then responded that he would not. Later he changed his mind and went to work in the vineyard.
The second son was also asked by the father. He agreed to go to the vineyard, but did not go.
Jesus asks, which one of the two sons did what the father wanted. The people in the temple who were listening to Jesus answered that it was the first son.
Then Jesus told that the people who were considered sinners like the tax collectors and the prostitutes were entering the Kingdom of God ahead of the religious people. Although John the baptist preached about the way of righteousness, the religious people did not believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed what John told. And in spite of knowing this, the religious people did not repent and believe. (You can read this parable in Matthew 21:28-32).
Are we like the first son who eventually went to the vineyard to work? Are we like the tax collectors and prostitutes? What do we learn from this parable? What matters most?
It’s not who we are that matters. It’s not our initial expression of obedience that matters. It’s not what we portray to people that matters. While we can easily deceive and mislead others, none of these matters.
What matters is the state of our heart. Are we having a repentant and contrite heart? The truth is that all of us have sinned and have shortcomings. It’s only the cross of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten son that redeems us, washes us and makes us clean. It’s only through our faith in the crucified and the risen Lord that we have salvation.
When we sin, we displease our Heavenly Father. This separates us from God. Separation from God is spiritual death. When we believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, when we believe in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we no longer continue to be slave to sin. Believing and knowing that sin and sinful nature has no control over us is an important realization we need to have as a child of God. Having this understanding is a significant part of receiving the fullness of what God has provided for us through the crucifixion and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ.
Even if we occasionally slip into sin, we need to remember that the redeeming power of Jesus is always active. As the decision to believe in Jesus and follow Him is already made, repentance and an earnest decision to keep away from sinful circumstances is alone required.
An ongoing awareness of being a child of God is important. This awareness will birth in us a desire to keep hearing from God, our Heavenly father. Jesus did only the will of God the father (ref. John 5:30). As a child of God, we should seek to please God by doing the will of Jesus.
In the verse from John 14:6, we have Jesus speak to his disciples. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
A religious lawyer once asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. Jesus replied that all the law and the prophets are based on these two commandments. Quoting from the Gospel of Matthew 22:37-39
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Reading the verse a couple of times prayerfully is recommended. Note that loving God the Heavenly Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is specifically meant here. Loving God as a sovereign God. The love should be with all of our heart, soul and mind. The emphasis clearly expresses that love should be with 100 percent of our heart, soul and mind. In other words nothing else should be competing for even a small share of that love. The emphasis is that the love should be total. Only with such love, can we truly confess the Lord my God.
The second commandment is specific about loving our neighbor. But within this commandment the precondition is to as we love ourselves. Many instances we discover that since we do not have the right understanding and perspective of loving ourselves well, we do not have the right expression of loving our neighbor, the person whom we interact with daily, the people whom we come into contact with, whom we see in our daily walk of life. Thus it becomes pertinent to loving ourselves well. When we do so well, our love for a neighbor becomes an expression of heavenly love.Luke 6:31 expresses the heart of the matter as stated here. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
God made man in His image and likeness to have dominion over all the earth. ( Refer Genesis 1:26). God is love. ( Refer 1 John 4:16) Hence it is very important as a child of God to live life giving expression to God's love, which he lavished upon us through His son Jesus Christ. And the magnificence of this love is explained in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. As a child of God, we are encouraged that our words, deeds and actions give expression to this kind of love.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Brief biography of the author
The author, Francis J Kalarickal lives in Dubai with his wife and two sons. He is an entrepreneur and an elder in one of the churches operating in Dubai which serves the vibrant expatriate community in the city. His blog can be accessed by visiting the link Christ in You, the Hope of Glory.