See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are… Beloved, we are God’s children now… (1 John 3:1-2)
Almost every baptismal service of which I have been a part has included the first line of this passage from the letter of John. Imagine the love that is far greater than even that of our deepest relationships in this world. That is the love that our heavenly Parent has given to us.
To be a child of God is a gift and a calling. As the old saying goes, “with great blessing comes great responsibility.” Yes, this does give comfort in regards to our afterlife. However, we who have been so incredibly loved are not meant to merely sit still, resting in that love for our whole lives. (This is not to discount the importance of prayer and meditation practices that allow us to rest and recharge and be recreated in God’s loving presence.)
We who know that we are children of God are meant to be the most active in living out the love, which is our calling, in the world. We are to share that same gift we have received with the entire world. And we are to do it with reckless abandon. There are countless possibilities of ways we can do that. But let us parse out the difference between our calling and the world’s distortion of it.
Some action verbs of the children of God: love. accept. welcome. embrace. empower. bind-up. bless. care. stand. be present. serve. feed. reconcile. create. build.
Some action verbs of our fallen world: hate. denigrate. cast-out. chide. dominate. tear-down. curse. hurt. trample. abandon. condescend. hoard. break. destroy. demolish.
The pattern should be rather obvious. Being a child of God means learning to let the love of God impact every aspect of our lives and the ways we live them. It is only then that we will find the strength to overcome all the ways we can break our God-given relationships with one another, the world, and ourselves.
Beloved, you are God’s children now – so start seeking the ways to live like it!