Photo Credit goes to Abigail Vencil Photography
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become children of God, to the ones believing into His name; who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but were born of God.” John 1:12,13
Prerequisites. A lot of things have prerequisites or standards. To go on the rides at King’s Dominion or Busch Gardens you have to meet the height requirements. My daughter is getting ready to take her behind the wheel driver’s test to receive her license. She needed to read some material and complete some practical knowledge before hand. To be given authority from You, I need to acknowledge You as Sovereign over me and everything and submit my attitudes to You. But that’s not all. I have to believe into Your name. I love that phrase. It’s not just that I believe in Your name, but INTO it. And Your name is all that You are and all that You represent and Your enormous power and authority and sovereignty, and everything You. And I’m not just into it as a thing I put my interests in. I have placed myself in You as my Sustenance, my Safety, my Savior, my Shelter…and the list goes on and on.
But I have to receive You for who You are, not who I want You to be. Because that’s the thing, You are in charge and You are actually the One doing all the work in me because I can’t become a child of God, Your child, without You. You give me the authority to become Your child. What does that really mean? It means, it’s a gift. You give, I’m blessed by Your gift. I don’t become a child of God based on any of my merits. It’s all based on Your merits and authority and power and love and everything else that is You. There is no entitlement. The power and authority is not in myself. It is only in You. And because I have placed myself INTO You, by Your grace and mercy and power, I receive the benefits of being Your child.
We live in a world that encourages us to believe we are entitled. If I am entitled to other people’s right attitudes and responses to me, then why weren’t You, Lord? Because the worst things that people have said and done to me, don’t even compare with what was said and done to You, the KING of kings. I mean, if anyone was entitled, surely it is You. But everything I have is a gift. I don’t deserve anything. I haven’t done anything so wonderful that I have earned anything. Even when I go out on mission, I was thinking about it the other day. It’s not that I’m doing any wonderful thing for people. I am fulfilling Your purpose for me. I am fitting into Your plan. And in obeying You faithfully, and letting You live out Your desires in me, I’m blessed by the opportunity to serve. And thank You, Lord, that my service and obedience in You allows them to be blessed. But it’s not because of me. It’s all because of being INTO You. You are the One who blesses.
It was a lot easier for a first century believer to get this concept. Because if Caesar put his thumb up they were saved. If he so much as turned his thumb down, they perished. The Emperor was in charge, absolutely. And You, Lord, are my Emperor. But it’s so hard to understand things that way now. We think we have these inalienable rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Really? Do those things really exist outside of You, Lord?
What if I look back at You for my example. What does that tell me about my rights? Philippians 2:6-8 tells me this about You, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Now, is that what my life looks like? Am I willing to give up my reputation, and what is my reputation compared to Yours, Lord, and take on the form of a servant in You? The Creator of all rights and privileges and all good things took on the likeness of man. Whose likeness was I created to take on? It wasn’t man’s likeness. I was created in Your image. Sin tainted that. But You have given me a way back. I can be recreated in Your image. But I have to receive You and believe into You. I have to be in You to be made like You. And that’s an extremely humbling place to be.
God, who humbled Himself into the form of lowly man, powerless man. God, with all the power of God, with all the beauty of God, with everything that God is, equal to God because, Jesus, You are God, dropped Your reputation of Supreme Ruler and Authority and took on the reputation of a servant and the lowly form of man. Ruler becomes servant. Rule Giver becomes obedient. Life suffers death. Do I really have rights? Am I anything special?
This whole idea of this Hebrew “birth” thing is also more than meets the eye. Because it’s maybe not just about one person being born or renewed in You. It points back to even the Father’s part of procreation in us. But then it points on to our own multiplication. So, again, everything I have, all my physical and spiritual DNA, was given by my Heavenly Father. Nothing was passed down to me by my earthly parents. I do not possess any innate physical qualities. It wasn’t passed to me because of the strength of my will or my desire. No one else on earth could fulfill this either. I am wholly Your procreation. I am being created after Your DNA image. If I am in You, then Your DNA is in me. Am I living like that?
Lord, I want to learn what it is to be truly humble. I want to be humbled under Your mighty hand that You will exalt me at the right time. And it’s not that I want to be exalted. I just want to be lifted up by You, not above others, just lifted above the tough stuff, more than an overcomer in Your hands. I don’t need to be lifted up above people, I just desperately need You to lift me up above wrong attitudes, both mine and others. I need You to lift me up above the trials in my life. You’re the only One I can depend upon to do that, because You are the only one with the power. And I need You, desperately. And I am so grateful that You have allowed me to be and made me Your child, a child of God. I don’t deserve it but I know it is the greatest privilege ever given me. Please use me to draw others into that glorious privilege, that glorious blessing that is being Your child.