“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for”—Ephesians 1:11
A person can be religious and yet lost. Attending church won’t make you God’s child. You must accept his offer. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”(1 Peter 3:18).
It makes no sense to seek your God-given strength until you trust in his. “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11). Take a few moments and talk to God. Whether you are making a decision or reaffirming an earlier one, talk to your Maker about your eternal life. You might find this prayer helpful:
Immanuel, you are with me. You became a person and took on flesh. You became my Savior and took on my sin. I accept your gift. I receive you as my Lord, Savior, and friend. Because of you, I’ll never be alone again!
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
— Psalm 37:1 NKJV
People can become upset when they see the prosperity and success of others. They see what others have in comparison to what they have and it can upset them if they think that others have it better than them. If the others are also evil in nature, then the upset is all the greater. Why should the evil prosper and succeed? Why do they have it better than me? Instead of focusing on their own lives, they obsess over the lives of others.
We should not fret ourselves because of the prosperity and success of evildoers and we should not be envious of them. After all, we should not be envious of anyone. Envy is a sin (Romans 1:29). Covetousness is to desire the advantages that belong to someone else; jealousy is to resent a person for the advantages they have; but envy is the desire to be like the person who has the advantages. All three sins, closely related and often found in combination, result from an inordinate comparison between oneself and someone else.
Whatever advantages the wicked may have are transient and fleeting. The wicked have traded in eternal life and peace for temporary and limited advantage. If they don’t wither and fade in this life, they will in the next.
The news media frequently report stories of how the wicked have fallen. These stories are object lessons that confirm the truth of Psalm 37. Stop comparing yourself unfavorably with other people, and especially with the wicked.
What does it mean to be a child of God? A child of God is a member of God’s family, with all the advantages and privileges membership entails. Although the Bible makes it clear in many places that every human being that has ever existed is a creation of God, not everyone is a child of God. Simply coming into existence in the natural way is not sufficient to become a child of God. Rather, one must be born a second time; one must be “born again” (John 3:3). In the words of our verses for today, in order to become a child of God one must be “born of God.”
What does it mean to be born of God? The reference is not to natural birth, but to spiritual birth. In order to be born of God there must be a change of spiritual motivation and direction in a person’s life. Apart from this change, people are children of the devil (John 8:44), rather than children of God. The second birth occurs when the Holy Spirit of God enters a person’s life and changes the spiritual motivation and direction of that person (John 3:5-8). Instead of following and imitating the devil, they begin to follow and imitate God (Ephesians 5:1).
How does one become a child of God? According to our verses for today, one must receive Jesus, one must believe in His name. God’s plan for reconciling the children of the devil unto Himself and making them His own children required the virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:17-19). When we receive Jesus, when we believe in who He is and what He accomplished for us, we receive in turn the right to become God’s children.
What are the advantages of being a child of God? There are too many to mention all of them. In summary, however, one receives the right to abundant and eternal life in God’s family. One receives the right to talk to God and relate to God as a good and loving father for all eternity.
If you have received Jesus, then you are someone very special. You are a child of God. You have been included in His family.
A rich young ruler once asked Jesus, “What must I do to get eternal life?” He thought he could find eternal life by his own strength. But Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). It wasn’t money that hindered the rich young man; it was self-sufficiency. You don’t need a system; you need a Savior. You don’t need a resumé; you need a Redeemer. You cannot save yourself.
It’s not just the rich who have difficulty with this teaching. So do the educated, the strong, the good-looking, the popular, the religious. Those who desire God’s presence don’t brag; they beg. Admission of failure is not usually admission into joy. Complete confession is not commonly followed by total pardon. But then again, God has never been governed by what is common.
Do you consider yourself self-sufficient or one who totally depends on God’s love, mercy and grace? For me personally, I’ve found that God never lets me down no matter what the circumstances might be.