Senior Pastor Duane Mabee's weekly Pastor's Pondering can be read here, as seen in the printed church bulletin weekly.
My Child in Whom I Am Well Pleasedby Duane Mabee on January 13, 2021
When the Holy Spirit came on Jesus at His baptism, the voice of God the Father called out from heaven, “This is My Son, in Whom I am well pleased. You are My Son, and I delight in You.” Tim Keller asserts:
In the same way Romans 8:16 tells us that the Spirit bears witness to our hearts that we are children of God. Part of the mission of the Spirit is to tell you about God’s love for you, His delight in you, and the fact that you are His child. These things you may know in your head, but the Holy Spirit makes them a fiery reality in your life. (Prayer; Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.)
I think most Christians know in their heads that God loves them, but from my observation and experience, I don’t think most of us know at a heart level how much God loves us. Can you imagine God the Father leaning out of heaven, calling your name and saying “This is my child, in whom I am well pleased. You are my son or daughter, and I delight in you.”? Most of us would say “yes” with our minds because we know it’s the right answer, but if we’re brutally honest, our hearts probably say something quite different – and it shows.
It shows in the ways we try to convince ourselves that we are loved and lovable. You can see it in the ways we compete, trying to prove that we are better than others. It shows in our rotten self-esteem or overblown egos. It’s given away by our attempts to prove that we are lovable through sex, possessions, education, looks, talent, etc.
When the Holy Spirit makes the truth that God loves and accepts us in Christ a fiery reality in our lives, we no longer need to seek love and acceptance in any of the ways mentioned above. When the Holy Spirit convinces us at the core of our being that God delights in us, we can relax and stop striving. When we know that God loves us as we are, we can be honest with Him and others about our weaknesses and failures, as well as our strengths and accomplishments. When we are comfortable in God’s love and acceptance, we no longer need to pretend to be something we aren’t. Other people’s opinions of us won’t matter so much.
The following statement has become very important to me:
Because of Christ’s redemption, I am a new creation of great worth. I am deeply loved, completely forgiven totally accepted by God, fully pleasing to the Father, absolutely complete in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Every phrase in that statement is important and can be supported by Scripture, but the first phrase is critical. It is only because of Christ’s redemption that any of the rest are true. They are true because I am in Christ. Without Christ’s redemption, none of those things are true of me or of you. Because I am in Christ every piece of that statement is true. If you are in Christ, every piece of that statement is true of you, too. You don’t have to strive to make them true. They already are.
The key is to learn to believe these truths in your heart, not just in your head, and to start living as though they are true. In Christ, you are God’s dearly loved child. He is well pleased. He delights in you. Let the Spirit make that a fiery reality in your life.