Friday, July 17, 2009

What's God saying to you?

For some achievement-oriented people (you know who you are), that question stirs up a lot of anxiety. I'm not saying it's a Rorschach test, but if what comes to mind is "You don't read enough Scripture" or "You aren't loving (generous, kind, etc.) enough," that may say more about us than about God.

I was thinking about Psalm 139: "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand." (Ps 139:17-18). What kind of precious thoughts?

Here are a few -- a mere half-dozen "grains of sand." No, I can't prove all of them from Scriptures, but I think that some of what I feel toward my own children is an echo of God's feelings toward his:
  • Good morning! I've been watching over you all night.
  • I'm glad you're mine.
  • When you reached out to that person, it brought joy to the angels in heaven.
  • Just wait 'til you see the blessings I've got stored up for you next week!
  • You're doing just what I wanted you to do!
  • It brings me pleasure just to look at you.
Which reminds me of something I heard at our church's "men's summit" a few months back: Matthew 3:17 happens before Jesus has done anything; he hasn't preached a sermon, he hasn't healed or fed anyone, and he hasn't done any other miracle yet either. And God says, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." So this inspired one speaker to say, "Hey God, what do you think of me?" while still in bed -- before reading any Scripture, before any other prayer, before doing anything "productive."

And to meditate on those words, "my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." Before doing anything productive today, even before praying, we are his beloved.
By the way, this is no less true if you're a woman; I read in Vincent's word studies iirc that the NT writers used the word translated "son" (something like "υιοσ") when they wanted to emphasize the believer's relationship with God, and the word for "child" (something like "τεκνοσ") to emphasize the fact of birth. Thus in Romans 8:14-17, Paul ties being sons of God (verse 14) to being led by his spirit (the relationship), whereas verses 16-17 connect our inheritance to our being children (the fact of birth). And Galatians 3:26-28 makes it explicit that "sons" include both men and women: "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.... There is neither... male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
So if you are indeed his child, then whatever else God is saying to you, he's also saying this: "You are my beloved son; in you I am well pleased." Yes, before you read the Bible, before you pray for anybody, before you do anything "productive," God loves you and is pleased.

Now that's what I call good news.

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