John 1:12 says, “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
The phrase “the right to become children of God” really struck me. Father’s Day was approaching and I thought about what it means to be a father’s child. It’s interesting that it says he gave “the right to become children.” The Bible is clear that God made us all, but I think He is making a distinction here between being a part of his creation and being one of his children.
So why is it important to become a child of God and what does it mean for your life? I believe it has great significance. Here are 3 things that you gain as a child of God:
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed an expert opinion, but you had to wait because it was the weekend? Or have you ever called a place hoping to get help only to hear that message, “Our offices are currently closed. Please call back during normal business hours?” It can be deflating when this happens. You have a need, but you are forced to wait for help until someone else’s schedule can accommodate you. You have been denied access, and there is nothing you can do about it.
It’s different though when your Dad owns the business or when your Dad is the expert. When it’s your Dad, you have unprecedented access. There are no business hours or secretaries you have to go through. You have a direct line and special access to the source of the help you need. You can call any time, and he is happy to take your call. In fact, for most of us he probably wishes we’d call more often because you are not just a client; you are his child. That’s what it is like when you are a child of God. He doesn’t treat us like clients; we don’t have to make appointments. He is always there, waiting with open arms to hear us and to provide for us.
When I was in high school, I had a friend whose father had a brand new BMW, and he let my friend drive it most of the time. At my high school, you didn’t see a lot of luxury automobiles in the student parking lot. My friend became an instant celebrity. He wasn’t riding in style because of his own accomplishments, but because of who his father was. He had certain privileges.
As children, we usually get the unmerited benefit of enjoying the resources available to our fathers. For some that may mean straight up cash money. For others, it may mean connections like getting a hookup for a job. I know I have confidence that my father would give me his last dollar or the shirt off his back. In fact, he’s done it before.
All of our different fathers have different things they are able to offer and provide for us, but becoming a child of God means that the playing field is leveled. No matter what your earthly father has or doesn’t have, when you become a child of God, you have a Father. He literally owns everything, the earth and everything in it (Psalm 24:10). He has unlimited resources, and you get to benefit from it for no other reason than you are his child and he loves you. How cool is that?
As much as your earthly father loves to give you good gifts, how much more will your Heavenly Father provide for you?
What are you asking Him for?
One of the things that come with having a father is being under His authority. That means we have boundaries. A good father will enforce those boundaries, and he will discipline his child when he steps out of line. That could mean anything from a verbal reprimand, to temporarily revoking certain privileges, to actually allowing us to experience some pain in order to learn a lesson. When this is all done in balance, it translates into good parenting. A father who loves will always discipline his child (Proverbs 3:12).
You’ve probably had the experience of doing something you knew was bad; and, when your dad found out, you had to face some consequence. But did it break you? No, looking back it probably actually made you better. I remember, when I was probably about eight or nine years old, I said something disrespectful about an adult that I didn’t like. My father heard me out, but not before he reprimanded me for speaking disrespectfully.
I was raised to understand that respect for elders and those in authority is important. That might seem obvious, but I’m observing more and more in our culture it apparently is not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received compliments or appreciation for the way I approach people with respect when they might not have expected it or be used to it. It’s even caused me to gain recognition in the work place for the way I conduct myself. It’s all because of the discipline I received as a child. I didn’t like it then, but I appreciate it now. I’m thankful to my father.
I don’t think we’re used to thinking of discipline as a benefit. If it weren’t for the discipline we receive from our parents, we would probably all have a hard time getting along in life. It is discipline that sharpens us and lets us know which path to stay on. It is discipline that teaches how to avoid hurting others or ourselves. I believe, as we learn to accept the discipline of our Father however unpleasant at the time, it will make us better, and we will reap greater benefits later on.
I know you may be all grown up in a natural sense, but don’t let that distract you. I believe coming to God as little children and staring up at him with wide eyed wonder is what really moves his heart. Of course we can ask for whatever we want, but sometimes it’s sweet to just be there with him.
In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Such as these. Have you ever come to Jesus in a “such as these” kind of way, open, humble and wanting to be near him? Don’t let anything hinder you today. John 1:12 says “…but to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Do you believe him and accept him as your Lord and Savior? If so then you have the right to become a child of God. Now you have gained access, and you get to enjoy privileges. You will experience the loving discipline of a good good father. It doesn’t get any better than this.