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I Am a Child of God

"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)

There is a reason why today, I can call myself a child of God.  It has almost everything to do with my own dad.  I say almost because ultimately my Heavenly Father is the One who called me, died for me, and has provided everlasting life for me.  But how did I come to a realization of who God is?  How was I able to understand God's love for me?  How was I able to comprehend God's attributes of love, discipline, grace, and mercy?  He provided a look in to Himself through the earthly father he gave to me.

"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." (Proverbs 13:24)

Dad had a particular way of disciplining us when we were young.  It typically started with the simple sentence, "Go to your room and wait for your dad."  To a small child it was "psychological torture", a good dose of gluteus maximus discomfort, followed by tender-hearted love and instruction.  The slow but pounding walk up the stairs (insuring we heard every step).  The methodical search for the paddle (which we wrote loving notes of adoration on in the hopes it would provide a change of heart) in the drawer that squeaked and creaked as it was forcefully opened and shut.  The careful aim and slight touch of the paddle against our bare bums, letting us know the pain was coming down.  My siblings and I can laugh about it now, but when we look back upon the way our dad disciplined us, it was nothing short of effective and beneficial for our well being.  The most effective part of this process was the affectionate love and instruction he shared after our cheeks stopped pulsating with pain.  Our dad always brought it back to scripture.  He always instructed us in love and biblical guidance in why we had received this discipline.  For that, we are forever grateful.  The four of us now carry on that tradition of biblical discipline with our own children.

Discipline is absolutely necessary to Christian faith.  One must be disciplined to deny the pleasures of this world that they will face on a daily basis.  Our Abba makes this very clear in Hebrews 12:11, "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."  A father disciplines his children because he loves them and desires to see them live a life that is honoring to the Lord.  Robert Lewis, the author of Raising a Modern-Day Knight said, "Every young man needs a comprehensive view of life that begins with this fundamental proposition: True satisfaction in life is directly proportionate to one's obedience to God.  In this context, moral boundaries take on a whole new perspective: They become benefits, not burdens."  Discipline, if done appropriately, provides this outlook on life that we would want for all of our children.

"Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

I could go on and on about my dad.  There are so many other attributes about his fathering that I could write about.  He loved his children too much to see them make mistakes without proper discipline.  He understood the values that this would instill in his children.  He trusted in God's Word and worked incredibly hard to make sure that one day he could confidently say, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 4)  He now has four children who are married with 13 grandchildren that are being raised in similar fashion.  My dad has created a lasting legacy that will live on for generations.  Why?  Because he was not willing to compromise God's truth in the lives of his children.

So this is what it means to be a Child of God.  This child recognizes that his Father in Heaven loves him beyond understanding.  This child understands that there are times when his Father has to discipline him.  This child knows that the discipline he receives is for his benefit.  This child strives to live in the shadow of his Father because there is no one else he wants to emulate.  And for this reason, I want to be just like my Father in Heaven, as that is exactly what I want for my own children.  I remember the words of Paul when he said, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1).

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