What we do flows naturally from who we are. So when we talk about disciplemaking, we must understand our identity as surely as we understand our call. The good news of Christ promises us a new way of seeing ourselves and that, in turn, yields a new way of living and influencing this world!
Over the next several posts, we will discuss some components of a disciplemaker’s identity. Today, we will focus on the beautiful truth that King Jesus has chosen to call us His children.
Soak up these words in Pauls’ letter to the Galatians from The Message:
You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance (4:6-7).
This aspect of our identity overwhelms and humbles me. Consider that God not only saves us from sin and recreates us, but He also makes us His own sons and daughters. We are heirs: princes and princesses of the King of kings.
My adoption as a child of God is an incredible truth that ought to change the way I live each day of my life. God sent His Spirit into my life and it is His Spirit that prompts us to cry out, “Papa! Father!” The word Abba, used in most translations is the Aramaic word Jesus, as a small child, would have used to call to Joseph, and later to His heavenly Father.
Seeing myself as a son of a heavenly Father who loves me and cares for me is the most heart changing truth for me personally. The fact that I can literally cry out to God, “Daddy!” helps me understand the love of the Father and the kind of relationship God wants to have with me. As I’ve gone through difficult aspects of life—like my mother’s death and my father’s cancer—my ability to endure and hope can only be explained by the access I have to my “Abba.”
The second part of the quoted passage above (Galatians 4) is equally remarkable. Because we are His children, we are also heirs and therefore have access to God’s inheritance. In one of his letters, the apostle Peter wrote that “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). Because we are His children and His heirs, God has made available everything we need for life and godliness. Everything!
Understanding our identity as children of God is foundational to our understanding of disciplemaking. We are cared for, loved, delighted in; not just workers for the kingdom, but heirs of it! We are children enveloped with the love and hope of Jesus, sharing in His likeness, and delighting in a family led by a perfect Father. As we see and experience ourselves as God sees us, we are equipped to see the world like He does, as well.