By Dennis Dobbin – San Pedro, California
When we make transitions, decisions, or resolutions that we put faith into to make a change in our lives, they are often about us. What can we do to improve our lives?
May I offer some advice that we stop worrying about what we’re doing, and be more concerned about who we are being.
There’s the old saying, “We are human beings, not human doings.” And though I have a long list of “to do‘s,” the first thing I need to do is remember that I am God‘s beloved child in whom he is well pleased.
This is our core identity.
This truth comes from how God the Father treated Jesus at his baptism. Before Jesus had worked one miracle, before he had even spoken a word, the Father was well pleased with him.
“When he has been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon him.
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 NKJV
As with Jesus, God is well pleased with us because we are his children. The quality of our relationship with the Father first comes from our sonship not from our actions.
The Greatest Joy
Imagine if you will a father holding his newborn child in his arms. The father looks upon the child beaming with the greatest joy at this amazing life before him.
At this moment of birth, the father begins to imagine all that he will do to provide for this small bundle before him.
The father is overwhelmed, and tears of joy begin to roll down his cheeks. The child has done nothing but be born.
Photo by Katie Ike
But, some might say, “Wait until that kid grows up. Then we’ll see how happy the dad is with the child.” Let’s consider what the book of Luke says about a father‘s attitude toward his prodigal son.
“And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.” Luke 15:20-23 KJV
Before this reunion, the prodigal son had demanded his inheritance, and then went and wasted it. Once the money was all gone, he became a servant to a pig herder, which was the lowliest job for anyone, let alone for a Jew. Unthinkable actually.
But, that’s where the young man found himself. Then, in a moment of clear thought, he realized his father’s servants were in better condition than he, so he hatched a plan to go back to his father, apologize for his behavior and say to him, “Make me as one of the hired servants.”
He made it home and had a chance to apologize, which was repentance, and then the father interrupted him and called for his servants to bring the best robe and a ring and shoes for his feet.
These three elements showed that he was completely reinstated into the family with the authority to transact business.
Yes, the son had run away, but he returned. And with one simple statement of repentance, the father fully reinstated him into the family. Such harsh treatment: NOT!
The Goal of Relationship
So where is performance-based relationship seen in this record? That’s correct—it’s not there.
While obedience is high on God‘s list of pleasing things, relationship is his greatest goal for us.
Servants can obey out of duty, yet those who obey out of love are his true children. We love because he first loved us.
“We love him because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NKJV
What resolutions or decisions will you make in the next season of your life? May I make a suggestion?
Be loved by the Father. After all, you are His beloved child in whom He is well pleased.
Ordained into Christian ministry, Dennis Dobbin serves on the CFF Pastoral Care Team and with the A/V department at Community Christian Church. He hosts a weekly podcast entitled “Yesterday Ended: Healing the Traumas of Life,” and is the author of “Every Thought of the Heart” and “As He Is.”