May 11, 2020

I John 3:1 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 

 

Think for a minute about your experience of family. What was it like to be a child in your house? If you are a parent, what are the best parts of your family life? What are the worst parts? The hard part about family metaphors in the Bible is our tendency to bring our own family experiences into our interpretation. No matter how amazing our families are, none of us come from a perfect family. Some of us have come from severely dysfunctional families. We carry that baggage into verses like this one. John is describing the family of God with unapologetic joy! He describes membership as a lavish gift.

Does being a part of a family—any family—fill you with you with a sense of wonder and thankfulness, or does being included in another family feel like an obligation and burden? For just a moment, engage in a free thinking exercise. Begin to compile a list of the perfect family environment. Use families you have known, your own family, a TV family, it doesn’t matter. Just come up with a list of every good family quality you have ever seen or longed for. Now what if you were a part of that family?

John, who walked with Jesus and shared every moment of his life for years, understood what type of relationship was possible with God as a Father. It included all of the positive qualities you imagined, plus ones that you haven’t even thought of. His unapologetic joy makes perfect sense in context. How do we go about learning to see and expect this type of relationship with God the Father? I can give dozens of right answers (as can you, undoubtedly), but I’ll leave it as a question. What do you need to do to open yourself up to experiencing the lavish gift of being a child of God?

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