walk in the word
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. —1 John 3:1-2
There are very few places in the Old Testament where God is referred to as Father. Jesus radically changed that practice by speaking of God as “My Father,” “Our Father,” and “Your heavenly Father.” When He entered human history, Jesus revealed God’s willingness to have a father-child connection with us.
The apostle John wrote, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God, and so we are” (1 John 3:1). Note how the verse says we can see our Father’s love for us as well as what kind of love it is. Both ideas are wrapped up in the privilege of being “called children of God; and so we are”—a statement of amazing description and awesome reality. The love He gives brings us into His family.
As happens in human families, adopted children take time to settle into what it means to be part of a family. They are called children of their adopted parents before they feel like children. God calls us and makes us His children and then patiently grows us into people who can wholeheartedly call Him Father.
Some may struggle with the father-child language in the Bible. This can help: We are not all fathers, but every one of us is a child. We all know the disappointments and delights of having or being a human father. Sooner or later we discover that as great as fathers can be, they are never perfect. And sometimes they fail disastrously. Those of us who are fathers often feel deeply the shame of knowing that not only did we not live up to our children’s hopes and needs, sometimes we didn’t even try. Repentance before God not only causes us to own our shortcomings as dads, it also directs us to point our children to the one Father who will never disappoint. Many human fathers would benefit from realizing just how desperately they need to have God be their Abba, Father, too. Fathers who are authentically living with God as their Father will help their children do the same.
Christmas is a great time to work at cleaning up messy relationships under God’s forgiveness. You can celebrate the joy of being part of an earthly family as well as rejoice in knowing you have been adopted into God’s eternal family. If you’re still not certain of God’s love, you can be—today.
Enjoy Jesus’ birthday this year with gratefulness to God, who not only loves you deeply but has also done everything necessary to make you His child. And ask God to send someone across your path with whom you can share the love that only He can give.
If you’ve never trusted Christ, to what extent do you see your need for a Father who can meet your real longing for an eternal relationship?
If you have trusted Christ for salvation, do you know you are His child, or do you actually feel like you are? What would it take for you to enjoy your relationship with Him more?
Lord, thank You for all You are to me. I realize that I only understand a little of all that You are, and that the reality of You goes way beyond my understanding. I cannot comprehend Your love for me and yet I can’t deny its reality in Your Son Jesus. Thank you that I can celebrate His coming at Christmas. Thank You I can be called Your child. Thank You for these moments to reflect on more of all You are to me and to be drawn into deeper intimacy with You. Thank You for making it all possible through Jesus, in whose great name we also pray, amen.
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