Tuesday, February 15, 2022

“…Be imitators of God, as beloved children (Ephesians 5:1).”

Before my wife and I really understood the gospel of grace, we would discipline our children the way we heard others discipline their kids. I would say to my son, “Colin, you’re a bad boy because you disobeyed.”

Such words were so common in our upbringing that we didn’t grasp their flaw. We were teaching our children that who they were was based on what they did – that because they did a bad thing, they were bad. We based their who on their do. That’s not the gospel!

The good news Jesus came to share is that our identity is not determined by our behaviors but by the relationship his grace alone secures. We don’t imitate God to become beloved; we imitate him, as already beloved children.

To reflect this gospel in parenting, I had to learn to say, “Colin, don’t disobey, because you are my son, and I love you!” I wanted him to know in every way possible that our deeds do not determine our identity; our identity motivates our deeds!

We do not obey God to gain his love, but to offer thanks for the grace that granted it. Grace prompts the gratitude of joyous devotion.

Today honor the One who loves you, not because of what you do, but because you are his. Love him with the devotion of the child that you are by his grace alone. Such devotion will be your joy, not because it earns anything for you, but because Jesus gave everything for you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for making me your child through the grace of Jesus Christ alone. Help me so to treasure this identity that my life reverberates with works of thanksgiving that honor you and demonstrate the depth of my affection for you.