I am writing this on Good Friday – the day we remember Jesus being crucified. Ready to be published on Easter Sunday – the most important festival within the Church – the day we remember Jesus defeating death and rising to new life. This is the fundamental event that the Christian faith is based on, more important than Christmas. BUT… what does this mean for Christians? That’s the question we’re going to be exploring this term, our Easter identity. What do the events of Good Friday, and Easter Sunday mean for us today. In John’s Gospel there are 7 ‘I am’ sayings, these are statements that Jesus says about himself – including ‘I am the resurrection and the life’. We are going to consider 6 ‘I am’ statements that Christians can say with confidence, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
I am a Child of God
When I was growing up I was convinced that I was adopted, I couldn’t see any similarities between me and my family at all. There was definitely no way I could be related to my brother, he is tall and thin, and those of you know me know that I am most definitely not. Also… I was musical… my family definitely not. I couldn’t see it at all. As I’ve grown up I’ve started to see similarities, but they have also been pointed out to me. I still remember one point when I was working as a TA in the school where my mum worked. I’d never supported in a class with her, but one day she was covering a lesson I was supporting in. There was a boy messing around, and in complete unison we both told the boy off using exactly the same words. When people look at photos of me and my mum, I quite often get comments of ‘you can tell you’re your mother’s daughter. People have even said there are physical similarities between me and my brother – apparently from the forehead to the eyes we look the same! I can also see character similarities, especially between me and my mum, but I also get my dry humour, sarcasm and hair from my dad! Although there are many differences between me and my family, there are important links and similarities. Also, I’m no angel (shocking I know), I have made many mistakes and continue to do so, but no matter what I do, my family are always there to support me, their love in unconditional. Even though I live 200 miles away from my family whenever I get on the phone with my mum it’s just like we’re in the same room, and as soon as I go back to Birmingham, the accent comes back and I’m just a daughter with her parents, fighting with her brother! It is the same with God.
We are told in Romans 8 that through the Holy Spirit, which came after Jesus rose and ascended to heaven, we are able to call God ‘Abba Father’, sometimes this is translated as ‘daddy’. No longer are we separated from God, but we are his children. No longer do we have to perform rituals in order to contact God, but we can just call him daddy. As children of God, we are also heirs of His Kingdom – how exciting!
But what does it mean to be a Child of God?
Good question. Firstly it is about being created in the image of God. As I said, for ages I couldn’t see any similarity between myself and my family but as I grew up I started to see it. Some of this was physical, but a lot was what I’ve picked up from spending so much time with them. I am not my mum or my dad, but I reflect them. Similarly, it is very difficult for us to see anything of God within us, we are not God, but we are made in his image, and therefore we reflect him. The more time we spend with Him, the more of His characteristics we will pick up and reflect in our lives. You never know people may start to look at you and your actions and say “you can tell you’re a child of God.”
Secondly, it is about recognising that once we are a child of God, there is nothing we can do to stop being a child of God. Resego Motlhokathari says “You don’t stop being God’s child when you mess up. God knows your heart and He loves you.”. What an amazing promise. This doesn’t mean that we should just purposely go around messing up, but it does mean that we don’t need to worry if we do, it doesn’t stop God’s love for us. Similarly there will be times where we ignore God, or don’t actively spend time with Him, but no matter how long that is, as soon as we turn back, he is there with open arms and it’s like we’ve never been away.
Thirdly, and finally it is recognising that others are Children of God as well. We are all made in the image of God. We may not recognise it in ourselves or in others, but we are. Yes there will be disagreements, as there are often were between me and my brother but… at the end of the day we loved each other and would do anything with each other. We are not going to like everybody but that doesn’t mean that we don’t treat them in love, as Gods child, our brother and sister.
It takes no effort to be a Child of God, but it is life changing if you recognise what it means and declare with confidence “I am a Child of God”. Over the last couple of days I have seen many posts on social media saying “the invitation to be a Child of God is universal but it does require an RSVP”.
Prayer: Daddy, we thank you that we have been able to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Thank you that we are able to call you daddy, that we are created in your image and that we can call ourselves your children. We pray that we are able to recognise you in us, and that we will be able to reflect you in our lives. Amen
Challenge: list all the characteristics of God that you can think of (you can research them if you want) then look at which characteristics you reflect, and help others to see what they reflect as well. Think about which you could develop more and ask God to help you.