(Reading List Theme 1.1)

This is such an inspirational passage to me. So many great truths!

(1:4) God loved us and chose us to be holy and without fault in his eyes! 

(1:7-8) God is rich in kindness, which he showers on us, if only we have eyes to see it! (1:13) When we believe in Christ, we are identified as his own!

(2:4-6) God accepts and loves us as we are – no prior change required!

(2:10) We are God’s masterpiece, created to do good things!

Wow. I don’t always look at myself as a masterpiece, as loved just the way I am, and as being showered in God’s kindness. But it’s true! And the more I know and spend time with God, the more I see how true it is. When I gave my life to God, I received a new standing in Him, a new identity. And when we choose life in him, we begin to see how much it is true that he has:

(v.3) blessed us

(v.4) loved us and chose us

(v.5) joyfully adopted us

(v.7) purchased our freedom, and forgiven us

(v.8) showered us with kindness, wisdom, and understanding.

The crazy thing about all that this says, is it is all in past tense. It’s not what he will do or may do, or is in the process of doing – it is DONE! So if I am not seeing that, maybe the problem is my own vision. Maybe I am too captivated by the things around me. To put it differently, maybe I am still held captive. Captivated and held captive have different connotations for me. But the meaning is the same – something has a hold of me, that for whatever reason, it is dominating me. Ouch. I want to be captivated by Jesus. Chapter 1, verse 14 promises that the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we will receive one day all that is truly ours for the taking. 

I read a story recently of a little orphaned girl, born in Asia, who was adopted by an American family at age four. She was promised a new family, and was excited to go meet them, but she did not realize that they would not look or sound like her, they wouldn’t call her by her birth name, wouldn’t know her favorite songs or eat her favorite foods. They were completely different. At first, she could not bond with them, but kept thinking there was some mistake, that she hadn’t quite reached this new family of hers, but would be taken to them soon. Her adoptive family loved her and had the best intentions for her, but she wasn’t able to receive their love and their family, because it was so unlike what she had always known. When she realized she was there to stay, she became very sad and withdrawn, and one night just cried all night long. Her adoptive mother came in and held her, and finally they fell asleep together. The next morning there was a change that continued to grow in the girl, until she was able to fully embrace her new family and new life, and she grew up to be a joyful, beautiful, and accomplished young woman, who was thoroughly at home in her new home and family.

Sometimes I think we are like this with God. He adopts us, he loves us, he has the best intentions for us, but we can’t always receive it right away, because he is so unlike what we have always known. Then one day, we GET IT, and can begin to really live as part of his family, and in his blessings.

I have an adopted brother. We adopted him at age 24, but he began to be part of our church family when he was about fourteen. I began to get to know him when I was twelve. It has been about a dozen years that he has officially, legally been my brother, but to me, today, there is no difference between him and my other brothers… he just isn’t in all the pictures from when I was little. When God says we are adopted, he means that we are really and truly his sons and daughters. Because of the blood of Jesus given for us, we share the bloodline. We are fully part of the family (1:5).  

Being in the family means we don’t have to try to do it alone. It would be silly to do it alone, when there is family eager to help and walk alongside us, including leaders who pray for us (1:15-20). If we don’t access what is available to us, in the fellowship and leadership of those in our church, we won’t live in the full blessings of what God has made available.

I pray today that as you read this, you’d be able to more fully understand the identity you have in Christ, as God’s masterpiece, and be able to truly live for God. If you’ve never prayed to become part of God’s family, it is simple: Confess your sins and repent, express your belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God, that he died for all people’s sins and was raised from the dead in order to save you and welcome you into his family. Then celebrate your adoption!