Accepting my Identity as a Child of God
Who am I?
Have you ever asked yourself this question? I surely have. It is in our human nature to ask questions and to seek to understand, especially when it comes to who we are. I think this is a question we tend to ask ourselves many times over the course of a lifetime.
To me, this question has its root in a bigger question:
What is my identity as a child of God?
When I know who Christ is and how I am in relationship to Him, I can more easily understand who I am.
Who am I?
I am a child of God. I am one of Jesus’s sheep. Jesus freely gave up His life for me. This is my identity.
I am a child of God.
First and foremost I am a child of God. From this truth, everything else I am has its origin. So, then, what does that mean, exactly?
“See what love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1a.
I really like that there is an exclamation point at the end of this statement. It seems like the author (believed to be the Apostle John), is saying, “Wow! Can you believe it?!” It is amazing to contemplate; God the Father loves us so much that He calls us His children.
A Father’s role is to love, protect, care for, teach, and guide his children. God does all of this for us.
I think it is important to remember that children have the free will to spurn their parents. God does not force us to accept Him or to love Him back, but His love for us is beyond all human understanding. He approaches us with arms outstretched, wanting to lavish on us His love. Will I accept His love for me?
I am one of Jesus’ sheep.
In John chapter 10, Jesus tells us that He is the good shepherd. He came so that we may “have life and have it to the full” (verse 10b).
“I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me in the same way that the Father knows me and I know the Father; for these sheep I will give my life” (verses 14 and 15).
To me, this passage is rich with meaning. Jesus tells us so much in just two sentences. He is the good shepherd. Now, a shepherd’s life is not easy! To care for sheep is not a simple task. It is all-consuming and challenging. There is little rest. A good shepherd does not focus on himself, but devotes himself to caring for his sheep.
As His sheep, we can know the Father as Jesus knows Him. This is incredible–Jesus and the Father are one with each other and the Holy Spirit. That we have the opportunity, through God’s love for us, to know the Father as intimately as Jesus, our Savior, knows Him is a truth I am still trying to understand. God loves us so much that He gives us the opportunity to know Him this intimately. What an amazing, wonderful gift God gives us in this.
Jesus freely gave up His life for me.
He lays down His life for us so that we may be with Him for eternity in Heaven.
Jesus says: “I lay down my life to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down freely. I have the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10: 17b-18)
As the Paschal Lamb, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies and God’s promises found in the Old Testament. He became the sacrifice that would unite us to God the Father. Thus, through Christ’s gift to us, we have the ability to call God our Father and know Him as Jesus does.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) 1 John 1:5 says that “God is light.”
When we accept God’s call and His love for us, we walk in the light with Him and we are saved by the blood of Jesus, who loves us so much as our good shepherd, that He freely gave His life for us.
Jesus wants to walk with me and have a relationship with me that is as close as the relationship He has with the Father, His own Father. This is my identity as a child of God.
Accepting my identity as a child of God
It can be challenging for me to accept my identity as a child of God. God really loves me that much?! He died for me? This reality is beyond my own understanding, yet I trust in God and believe in His Word, so I work and pray and read my Bible to understand this more fully.
I pray and ask God to help me to understand and accept His love for me so I can live the life He wants for me to live as His child. He knows the plans He has for me*, and I want to cooperate with those plans and live my life to the fullest.
One day at a time, I can do this with Jesus by my side and calling on the Father as my Father.
*As God told the exiled Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11-14a)