Good Luck

August 23rd, 2019

gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron


When we lived in a large city, there were more than 3,000 children in court custody, some in foster care, others in residential facilities, and hundreds in temporary kinship care. My wife worked for the state as a nurse case manager, where many children, especially older ones, never were adopted or found a permanent home. 

No one can make someone adopt us; we’re chosen. At a recent event, we were introduced to six new extended family members. A single lady had just completed adopting three children, and another couple serve as foster parents for three siblings. When we met the youngest, a cute little girl wearing purple glasses, she told us with obvious excitement, “We’re gonna get adopted, too!” The people who’d provided a home for them the past few months were about to become their forever parents. 

Last Sunday I returned to a sermon series on Ephesians, to the fifth chapter where Paul refers to us as “dearly loved children” of God (verse 1). That reminds of another verse, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15). “Abba” is similar to our name “Daddy”, a term of endearment often used by a young child. 

There’s a cute photo online of a father doing some repair work on a building, his small son wearing a tool belt and helmet, hammering right beside him. When a person becomes a believer in Christ, our behaviors come into line so we will be identified with God. That doesn’t mean we’ll become perfect, or all-knowing, but Paul’s promise is that we can “walk in love” and we can live a sacrificial life. 

Anyone who’s a dearly loved child wants to be an imitator of his parents. I tried to think of some specific reasons we might want to be like God. Possible answers include he saves us, he’s perfect, he knows all; he loves children, widows and the poor. His love, mercy, purity, vision and power compel us to strive to do our best. 

When we’re a member of a family, we don’t want to bring dishonor to the family name. Those of us who formerly were “strays” were brought to the Father by our older brother Jesus, and we were adopted into God’s family. Just being His creation isn’t sufficient. 

The pattern of walking in love is found in Christ. He gave himself for us as an offering and sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2). The offering was as a sweet-smelling savor. Thinking back to the very first sacrifices, God accepted Abel’s gift but not Cain’s. If anyone brings something to an altar, but is not truly obedient, the sacrifice “stinks”. Six time the Bible says, “‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’” (Psalm 40:6, Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7, Hebrews 10:5, 10:8). 

The sacrifice Jesus made on Calvary redeems us from death and hell and the Fall of Adam and Eve. But more importantly, His offering facilitates our acceptance and enables us to live with a sense of belonging and purpose. 

In church Sunday, we were excited to have four recently-born babies, and to hear the announcement of a new addition due in December. Most parents do their best to raise their children with love and sacrifice, and by setting a good example. May we realize how beloved we are as God’s children, and as Paul concludes, “become imitators of God and walk in love” (Ephesians 5:1-2). 

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