We found ourselves chewing cream crackers accompanied with cups of fruit juice when someone remarked in a voice spiced with a little bit of horror, “We are eating in the sanctuary!”
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (NKJV)
Yes, ‘the Amen, the Faithful and the true witness’ said that. Considering the context, he meant every word too. I remember finding it hard to believe my teachers back in primary school when they said they punished us because they loved us. Who says that? I now understand but I have to admit there were some who lost the essence of discipline that it became a meaningless endeavor so they seemingly produced worse results for the society to deal with instead. Their claim of love just sounded so cliché to my ears. However, for Jesus Christ, I better not make that assumption.
John records Jesus as saying, “For God so loved the world… (John 3:16, NIV)” God loves mankind collectively and individually. Jesus Christ, in fulfilling his ministry here on earth deals with people individually and dies once for everyone for all time. Against this backdrop, I find myself thinking, “What does God mean when he says he loves me?” I believe this will be my first post in an attempt to find an answer…connotatively.
Generally speaking, the first expression of love to a new born baby is by the parents especially the mother. God uses this analogy in his response to Zion who accuse Him of forsaking and forgetting them. He says,
You’re God’s child! John 1:12-13 says “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in him 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.” and so you’re God’s son, you’re God’s daughter, you’re God’s child.
I picture a pastor concluding his powerful sermon and after all the shouting, in a gentle voice says these words while pointing randomly at the anyone in the congregation anytime he says ‘you’. I’m the last person he points to. That’s quite unsettling. I know this is my imagination but why me? Wait a second, what am I doing sitting in front? I always sit at the back! Where in my brain did that idea ever come from?
That’s another thought for another day.
So this phrase, “I am God’s son.” What does it mean? What is the implication? Why is it such a big deal? Meanwhile for me, it’s running the risk of becoming a mere cliché.
I am his son. I am God’s child.
What does it mean to be my father’s child? How do I relate that with God?
Ok, I’m not just God’s son because He plays the role of a father in the absence of or just like my biological father but because He gave birth to me and I’m endeared to Him and He’s endeared to me. That relationship comes to exist, naturally. It comes with the characteristic father-child relationship.
I learn from Him as a father and mimic His every move. When He wakes up every morning, prepares a cup of coffee and pick up His bible to read, I prepare my cup of Milo and pick my bible for kids. I imitate His focused facial expression. When He highlights a verse, I colour Jonah’s face black and the big fish green. When He makes new mercies available to His children every morning, don’t be surprised to see my sister place a plate of rice in front of her doll; she knows her doll must be hungry. We are daddy’s children!
I get to jump, up and down on God’s bed in the mornings and see Him in His boxers. I get to sit in His car to school. I get to run into His arms when He comes from work. I get to see His reactions to every situation at home. I get to wonder why He prefers news when there’s a cartoon showing on a different television channel. I get to hear a bedtime story from Him before I go to bed and He gives me a kiss on my forehead. I don’t show contempt. I grow in respect and in reverence of Him and by the way it’s God I’m thinking about over here. Simply put, I have a deeper relationship with Him than my cousins or any other person ever will.
I carry His image. One would ask if I stole my father’s look or he willingly gave it to me because as I grow I look more and more like Him. All I can say in response is that I know it was God’s idea to make me in His image. Everyone is able to tell who I belong to because I have His surname, a seal in this case (Ephesians 1:13). I should then live in a way that befits my image.
Importantly, I carry his presence. I act as I’ve learnt, as He taught and as He expects. I act worthy of His presence. I am the right candidate to represent him when the need arises. He has given me every power, right and authority by virtue of being his child. I can run around freely and when it comes to it, I proudly point at my dad and with such childish delight, I say to my friends, “That’s my daddy!!!” No bully can shout me down or take that from me.
What does it mean to be God’s child?
God is King. That means I’m a prince (or Princess), co-heir to the throne. Moreover, He is the King of all kings and that make me…the prince of all princes! Of course I have other siblings too and this applies to them equally and not by virtue of position nor the time of birth.
Lastly, if His son is Jesus Christ, then I have the most awesome and coolest guy as my elder brother, someone I can totally look up to and so God, open my eyes to this truth so I can even have a better relationship with you, Amen.
God himself once spoke audibly to the hearing of man, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NIV). So as I stand among resplendently dressed individuals, lifting up my hands and singing out a worship song unto this same God, I fall on my knees and weep when I find myself singing the words, “You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me. (Here I am to worship, M.W. Smith)”
Jesus knew what he was saying for I was his treasure so he, the holy God who cannot stand sin, even a tiny bit of it, came to me, on earth where sin abounded. It’s a wonder the earth still revolved round the sun in those thirty-three years and is still revolving. Whew! I seriously cannot imagine what could have happened but all the same he conquered sin; he dealt with it completely. He did not do it by causing the earth to diminish with just a snap of his fingers. No. He conquered it with a cry of anguish. He conquered with love. Why? I am his treasure. He came for one reason; to save and not condemn me (John 3:17). He considered me, an enemy at the time (Colossians 1:21), his friend enough to die for me.
By now, tears were streaming down my cheeks. I just could not understand “for God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in his name shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). What is eternal life? Eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3). Hahaaha, God is so great it takes eternity to know him. I sniff. Indeed, “the more I know you, the more I want to know you, (More of you, Sinach)” I sang.
As a Christian, I have the duty of seeking his kingdom first but where is my treasure? Is my treasure God himself? Forget the streets of gold and everything else for now. God never died for me to get gold but for me to be reconciled with Him so this is between God and I. So when God says I should not worry about my life, why all these doubts? Why do I think I would not have fun? Maybe somewhere within I feel God is a killjoy. Why do I think I can never relate with God? Maybe I don’t understand that he loves me so much that it covers my sins and that is why he died for me. Why do I think someway somehow I need a contingency plan in case God fails? That’s natural but I may have forgotten he has a track record of never failing in his dealings. Moreover, I mean more to him than the birds of the air he single-handedly cares for. I should then leave my life in his hands and trust that he’s got it all in control. I should just continue to abide in Him so I can share fully in his life (John 15:5).
A wise old king once penned, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). According to this verse, my contingency plan which may check out by all standards, is not one for me to lean on for it is still fallible someway, somehow.
Worship is almost over. I stand up on my feet again and while I sing, “thank you o my father for giving us your son and leaving your spirit till your work on earth is done. (There is a redeemer, Keith Green)”
See you later, the preacher is now behind the pulpit. The responsibility of abiding in Christ is a lifelong endeavour; a day-to-day endeavour, a moment-by-moment relationship with God and so I have to listen and meditate on his word so that I will be careful to do everything written in it (Joshua 1:8).
Remember, God Loves U!! (GLU)