Sometimes a truth and realisation comes upon one at the oddest of moments. I was using a lint roller to remove Zack’s dog hairs from my fleece when I heard our older son moving about outside in the hall. As usual, he was getting ready to go outside to work on his truck, a not so new toy in which he takes great pride. It came to me then that I want to be proud of my children simply because I love them. And then, a Bible verse popped into my head: ‘And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:17)
Suddenly, I understood God’s perspective regarding His children. He wants to be proud of us i.e. well pleased. As a parent, I want the best for my children and to see them prosper not just materially, but to mature and grow in character, wisdom and spirit. I want them to become individuals who are diligent, moral, kind, self-disciplined, self aware, and wholesome in their outlook. I want personal integrity to be part and parcel of their make up. And I want them to follow the Lord.
I have been a Christian for a long time now – since I was 12. During this period, I have gone through many changes, growing from a feisty teenager prone to feelings of inadequacy and thus often very unhappy to a sometimes rebellious young adult, then on to a person experiencing self doubt, having given up a number of outside interests due to lack of time and work. As I have grown older – and, hopefully, more mature – I think I have become more self-contained and less affected by what other people think about me. Today, it dawned on me to ask, “Would the Father say that I am His beloved child, in whom He is well pleased?”
God sent Jesus, His Son, to earth to make atonement for our sins on the cross. I believe that. I also believe that I am saved because I have accepted Jesus’ offer of salvation to all who believe in His saving power and grace. However, have I lived a life always in submission to the Lord and in accordance to the will of His Holy Spirit who indwells me, or have I fought against His influence in areas of my life of which I am not proud? Therein lies the nub of this post: if I were in God’s shoes, would I say that I am well pleased with me?
This Christmas, as the world scurries around looking for gifts and partying itself sick on late night events, food, and alcohol, would anyone remember the reason for Christmas? Would lip service be paid to Christ’s birth and God’s gift to mankind only in so far as certain carols are sung and ‘safe’ unchallenging church services are held – and often not even attended? Will anyone wonder what God thinks of us? How many people now actually believe in the Christian God, “He [who] is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – He remains faithful forever”? (Psalm 146:6) And, finally, this Christmas, would we wish for God, the Lord of heaven and earth, the Saviour of the world, our very own heavenly Father, to be proud of and well pleased with us?
I hope, as the world celebrates Christmas this year, that we will all remember why we are celebrating this event that happened root 2000 years ago. It may not be the exact date on which Jesus was born; but it is a date of remembrance, and a day of joy. And perhaps it is a day to wonder whether our lives, reflected by our beliefs, character and outlook, will make the Father proud of us. It is an ongoing journey, and likely to be one for the duration of one’s earthly life. My sincere hope and prayer is that all believers everywhere – now and in the future – will endeavour to make the Father proud of us by walking in His will because we love Him!