JANUARY 17TH, 2017
"I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven."
Children aren't under any illusion that they can do it on their own. They freely receive. This is a key truth that Jesus teaches His disciples in this verse above. We need to simply receive the gift available to us through Jesus - it won't come by our merits.
The issue is that we are hard-wired in our nature to want to translate things in to action. You may read this paragraph above and think "OK, so what do I do. How can I actively receive something? I want to try to do this.. but what does that even mean?
A challenging part of this is that God wants us to find the truth, this relationship with Him, more than we do. We can easily feel like we've been trying so hard to hold up our end of the bargain, and God has this carrot on a stick in front of us, always just out of our reach. The truth is "He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). If you think about it - none of us chose to be born how or when we did. We just showed up one day. It's fair to say that our story of redemption and finding Christ, is really more His story working in His creation (us).
So it can be a risk to take, to stop looking to our own actions and merits to try and feel fulfilled and accepted, and to just say "OK God" and let Him reveal to you the "truth that sets you free". I'm not saying stop living life - but if you feel this may be you - that you're insecure, unfulfilled, dry or just broken - I challenge you to take the risk of saying "OK God, I'll just receive" and give Him space to reveal Himself to you. "Giving Him space" could mean talking to Him on a long car ride, in your bed at night, or spending time with Him in the Bible. However it looks for you, this may be the smallest, weirdest, greatest risk you ever take.
"Don't just say to each other, 'We're safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones."
John the Baptist warned the religious leaders of his day not to get caught up in pride because of their heritage. God could have made more "children of Abraham" from the very rocks around them.
Sometimes we tie our personal worth to what we can do, as well. We only feel good about ourselves if we are doing certain things. We read the bible and hear Christian teachings on what Christians should be doing. If we aren't doing these things, or we really really don't want to, we begin to question our very identity. "Am I really a Christian?"
The truth is that God doesn't need us to do what we do. He's God. He can heal people, feed the hungry and teach the truth to people with the very stones around us. The truth about who we are, the answer to this question "who am I", and the root of our faith that everything else grows out of - is that we are simply loved. God just loves you. That's who you are. Your worth is determined by what God paid for you, and what He paid for you was with His son's life here on Earth. Look at the life of Jesus and what He subjected Himself to, and think about the fact that it was for your sake. It was done out of love for you, and it was done to restore you to a relationship with Him. It didn't make you a part of His business plan. It was just His plan to bring you home, and to live with you.
God doesn't want us to try and earn His approval with works. People tried that for the entirety of the Old Testament and we still needed a new Covenant. That new Covenant is that you are considered to be as perfect as Jesus, because He stepped in and took the wrath of God upon himself, for what you deserved. Getting to know this, getting to know Him and how much He unconditionally loves you, is the primary purpose of God in your life right now.
When we get confused and prideful, thinking that God is in this for what we can do for Him - we're missing the point. You are a child of God adopted in to His family because He cares for you that much. You're free from everything that enslaved you beforehand, and you have the privilege of being able to take part in what God is doing here on Earth because He lives inside of you now, and no one can take that from you.