Jeffrey Stevens

Reflections from 1 John 3:1

1 John 3:1   See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.

This verse isn’t exactly easy for all of us to understand. It’s not our fault. Dad just wasn’t exactly part of the picture. We were blessed with amazing mothers who took on the role. Father just doesn’t come to mind when we think of the term parent or household. And still, some of us, have failed over and over again when it comes to being a parent. We have a difficult time comprehending just how a loving Father would still have anything to do with us after the mess we’ve created with the children who were entrusted to us by Him.

I fall somewhere in between on both sides of the spectrum. I always knew who my dad was. I just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t more important to him. Why isn’t he at my house after school like the fathers of some of my childhood friends? What was it that was so important to him that it took my place, even on the weekends he was supposed to show up to get me?

Before you start feeling too sorry for me, there’s something I need to make clear. Before I was blessed with my first daughter, I had butt heads with this thing that had kept my own daddy out of my life. I was in the tight grasp of addiction that has taken so much joy out of my life to this day.

This isn’t just a sad post to remind you of one of my many mistakes. More times than I can count, I’ve struggled with the idea that I am a “child of God.” Just like so many other people who haven’t had their life completely wrecked with the message of the Gospel yet, I still allow the enemy to tell me from time to time that I’m just a little too far gone. That Jesus loved who I was until I did that. I crossed His imaginary line. There is no saving me now. The Gospel is simply a message for those who’ve yet to go as far as I have.

The only problem with thoughts such as this is the cross. When Jesus stood on His nail-pierced feet and said, “It is finished,” He had people like me in mind. People who’ve continually made desperate mistakes, knowing that we’re dead wrong before a decision to act was made. Those of us who act out in a way knowing we have certain friends who’ll agree with what we’re about to do, and even have a messed up way of thinking that tells us, somehow, some way, we’re right and He’s wrong.

Part of being a child of God doesn’t mean you’ve lived your entire life exactly how you were supposed to and nothing has gone wrong. It means somewhere along the way, someone has finally told us the truth about the Gospel in a way that’s impossible for us to continue as we were. That regardless of how hard we try and how much effort we’re able to muster up, that we’re sinners, dead in our trespasses without the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ.

One of these days, regardless of how far down the wrong side of the road we’ve traveled, we reach a point where we realize we’ve never been whole. That someone or something is missing. We surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and we allow His Spirit to go to work both in and through us. We beg Him to show us which parts of us need to be made new and surrender ourselves completely to His saving grace in a way that glorifies His name, not our own. Only then are we finally able to say, “Yes, I’ve messed this thing up as much as I can and unless He does something right now, there’s no way this is ever going to happen the way He promises. Only then do we slowly start learning just how incredible it is to be known as a child of God.

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