Grace (Pack of 25)
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Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure. Eph. 1:4-5 (NLT)
There is something in you that God loves. Not just appreciates or approves but loves. You cause his eyes to widen, his heart to beat faster. He loves you. And he accepts you. Don't we all yearn to know this? Or are there times when you feel like asking God, "Do you know who I am? In the great scheme of things, do I count for anything? Do I matter?"
So many messages tell us we don't. We get laid off at work, turned away by the school. Everything from acne to Alzheimer's leaves us feeling like the girl with no date to the prom.
We react. We validate our existence with a flurry of activity. We do more, buy more, achieve more. All our wrestlings, I suppose, are merely asking this question: "Do I matter?"
All of grace, I believe, is God's definitive reply: "Be blessed, my child. I accept you. I have adopted you into my family."
Adopted children are chosen children. That's not the case with biological children. When the doctor handed Max Lucado to Jack Lucado, my dad had no exit option. No loophole. No choice. He couldn't give me back to the doctor and ask for a better-looking or smarter son. The hospital made him take me home. But if you were adopted, your parents chose you. They wanted you in their family. You object: "Oh, but if they could have seen the rest of my life, they might have changed their minds." My point exactly.
God saw our entire lives from beginning to end, birth to hearse, and in spite of what he saw, he was still convinced to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure (Ephesians 1:5).
It really is this simple. To accept God's grace is to accept God's offer to be adopted into his family. Your identity is not in your possessions, talents, tattoos, kudos, or accomplishments. Nor are you defined by your divorce, deficiencies, debt, or dumb choices. You are God's child. You get to call him "Papa." You may approach God with "boldness" and "confidence" (Ephesians 3:12). You receive the blessings of his special love (1 John 4:9-11) and provision (Luke 11:11-13). And you will inherit the riches of Christ and reign with him forever (Romans 8:17).
We never outgrow our need for the Father's love. We were wired to receive it. The words I give you are God's. Receive them slowly. Don't filter, resist, downplay, or deflect them. Just receive them.
My child, I want you in my new kingdom. I have swept away your offenses like the morning clouds, your sins like the morning mist. I have redeemed you. The transaction is sealed; the matter is settled. I, God, have made my choice. I choose you to be part of my forever family.
Let these words cement in your heart a deep, satisfying, fear-quenching confidence that God will never let you go. You belong to him.
To live as God's child is to know, at this very instant, that you are loved by your Maker not because you try to please him and succeed, or fail to please him and apologize, but because he wants to be your Father. Nothing more. All your efforts to win his affection are unnecessary. All your fears of losing his affection are needless. You can no more make him want you than you can convince him to abandon you. The adoption is irreversible. You have a place at his table.
If you have already accepted God's offer into his family through placing your faith in Jesus Christ, then you can have confidence in your status as God's child. The Bible promises that nothing "in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39, ESV).
If you have not yet accepted God's offer into his family, you can do so right now. Not because you've earned it. But because he loves you and because the gift of salvation is available to all who profess him as Lord. Believe that God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in your place for your sins. Believe that Jesus rose from the dead after three days, showing that God accepted him as your substitute. Believe Jesus' claim when he said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6, ESV). Confess that you have sinned and ask God's forgiveness. Invite him into your life and ask for God's help to turn from your sin. If you wholeheartedly believe these things and want to become a part of God's forever family, you can pray something like this:
Dear God, I admit that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, who gave his life for my sins. I entrust my life to you, Father God. Please come into my life and help me live a life that pleases you. Amen.
Max Lucado, Author
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