Children of God
John 14.8-17, 25-27
I love chapter 8 of St Paul’s letter to the Romans. There’s so much in it—for example, verses 15 & 16. Here, St Paul writes:
When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God…
We have sung ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ today. We have prayed, ‘Come, Holy Spirit.’ When the Spirit comes, she assures us that we are God’s children. I want to talk about two things today that stop us realising within our spirits that we really are children of God. Those things are (1) listening to accusing voices; and (2) pain.
Listening to accusing voices:
What voice do you listen to? Remember when Jesus is baptised, the Spirit comes upon him and the voice from heaven says,
You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.
God says, Jesus, you are my Son. And God’s Spirit witnesses to this great truth by coming upon Jesus.
Then what happens? Jesus is immediately led by the Spirit into the wilderness. We might think he should have a really long mountain-top experience; but no, God’s way is to lead him into the wastelands of Judaea. In actual fact, it’s more like God drives Jesus out there.
It’s not a good place out in the Judaean sticks. It’s inhospitable, and the great Accuser is there. Satan says to Jesus,
If you are the Son of God…
God says at his baptism, ‘You are the Son of God.’ Satan says, ‘If you are the Son of God…’ ‘If’ is such a little word, just the two letters; but ‘if’ makes the world of difference. Who does Jesus listen to? Who do we listen to?
You see, God also calls us by name and says to us, You are my beloved son. You are my beloved daughter.
Many of our problems in life come because we listen to the accusing voice and not to God’s voice. How could I possibly be a child of God, we ask ourselves!
- Nothing I do will ever be good enough
- I’ve made too many mistakes
- My life’s a mess
- It’s all my fault
- It’s too late for me
- They’d be better off without me—
But you know, these accusing voices do not come from God.
God calls us by name and says, You are my beloved daughter. You are my beloved son.
Many of us need to hear a dozen affirming voices for every accusing voice. You know how it is—people tell you you’re looking well, what a good job you’ve done, what a good friend you are… Then one person comes along and makes it clear they don’t appreciate you, and your day is ruined. Isn’t it so? Continue reading