Who are you? Christians can answer this question, “a beloved son or beloved daughter of God.” The fact that God loves Mike as a beloved son was the hardest theological truth for me to believe. I wish I had believed that as a young Christian.
I grew up with a very harsh father who was emotionally abusive to me. I was always trying to please him and get his approval, but I always came up short. I grew up feeling unloved and incompetent. Because of this I became an obsessive people-pleaser. I am a number two on the Enneagram personality chart. Unhealthy number two’s work hard to serve people and show people love, so that they in turn will be loved back.
I took this emotional baggage with me to the DR Congo where I served as a missionary for ten years. My performance relationship with my earthly father became superimposed on my relationship with God. I found myself working so hard to earn God’s approval and love. I ended up working too hard for too long and it ended in a near nervous breakdown.
I have learned that we must get the order right. Our good works are to flow from who we are (beloved sons and daughters of God) and not in order to become beloved sons and daughters. God loves us from the get go—we don’t have to earn His love, we already have it.
My warped theology of God’s love began to heal after the birth of our first child. I realized in moment that I loved little Sarah Ann with all my heart and she had not done anything to earn that love.
The Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus that they were saved by God’s love and grace in order to do good works—not that they were to do good works in order to receive God’s love and grace (see Ephesians 2:8-10).
Reflections: Do you see yourself as a beloved son or daughter of God or are you striving for His love? Go to a quiet place and ask the Lord to tell you how He sees you and then listen hard.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will