Lectionary: John 1: (1-9) 10-18
We call ourselves Christians (followers of Christ), and yet Jesus says that we are children of God.
What’s the difference?
Does it matter whether I think of myself as a Christian or a child of God? Does seeing myself as a Christian limit me to being a follower of Christ, while a child of God encompasses something different? How does our language impact our thoughts and perception?
Children often resemble their parents, imitate them, and strive to be more like them (or less like them as a teenager and young adult). In some cases, we strive to make our parents proud.
Genesis begins saying that mankind (male and female) was made in the image of God. Even in Acts, we find Paul stating that in God, we live, move and exist. We are God’s offspring.
Does being a child of God, rather than a Christian, offer more security, authority, assurance and faith? Do you feel more obliged to live with confidence, discipline and earn your family inheritance, as opposed to when you call yourself a Christian?
What impact does “family likeness” have on you, when you compare “Christian” = imitating and being like your family of Christians and child of God = imitating and being like the Divine Creator, rather than other people?
Similarly, what effect does it have on your self-image to look at yourself as divine creation? Can you see yourself as the emanation of Love, Life & Truth? How does this impact your feelings of self-worth? Could you be less defensive and more courageous as a child of God?
Does Jesus invite you to be a Christian?
I don’t believe so.
Without a doubt, Jesus didn’t invent the term, Christian. In fact, he didn’t even use the name “Christ“. (Consider that he would have spoken in Aramaic, rather than Greek – to start with. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός) – Bickerman). The first reference we find the Christians is actually in Antioch – Acts 11:26 – referring to Paul and other apostles, not even to the eleven disciples.
Nonetheless, Jesus called himself the Son of God, referring to God as his Father. Throughout the gospels, he invites us to see ourselves as children of God.
Remember Nicodemus: here, Jesus suggests that all of us are to be “born again”. Go through a spiritual process of rebirth. Culturally, the ancients used birth to describe experiences of crisis – often women were close to death as they struggled to bring new life into the world. How much crying and pain is involved in birthing? The same happens with our spiritual birthing, as we recognise our spiritual existence and awakening. It might even be messy to symbolically accept that we also are children of God. Often, it is an ongoing experience of growing pains as we peel off layers and burdens we have been carrying to reveal Spirit within us and allow more light to shine through us!
Can you see and recognise your spiritual potential within, the way that Spirit sees it within you?
Imagine for a moment that you have this invitation:
- think like Jesus;
- act like Jesus;
- love others with Absolute Love;
- forgive others to the same extent that he practised forgiveness;
- pray, meditate and recharge your spiritual batteries each and every day to fully charged;
- practise healing like Jesus did; and
- live your life to the fullness of your personal purpose.
So, how does a child of God pray?
When you are living as a child of God, it influences every area of life, including prayer.
- When you ask for wisdom and direction, you wait to hear the response. Can you believe that you can know the mind of God and tap into Infinite Wisdom?
- If you ask to learn how to do something, imagine practising nonstop until you have mastered it.
- When you ask to be introduced to the right teacher, you pay attention to the lessons.
- Upon asking for protection, you allow yourself to be protected.
As a child of God, you have a right to claim health and wellbeing, expressing health, strength and infinite life in your spiritual body, healing your physical body.
John reminds us that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Are you holding onto the power of that Word within you? Do you call it into being and create with the force and power of being a child of God?
Having faith in your Divine power
We can all read how Jesus lived and breathed his faith. He believed that he was the Son of God and therefore exercised the confidence and power that came with this. Do you apply that same hope and trust? We are promised God’s gift of eternal love and power.
And yet, I fail to grasp it in my daily life! I know that for my continual growth, I am strengthened and tested. I also have a deep faith that all the testing and strengthening is for a purpose. I am being made stronger FOR SOMETHING, not just to be tested!
But I am still learning to say with conviction and assurance:
- I am love as my Father is love.
- I am unbridled joy as my Divine Creator is joy.
- I forgive as Divine Love is forgiving.
- I am prosperous as Spirit within me prospers.
- I have access and deserve all abundance of this Earth and Heavens, as a child of the Divine.
- Peace floods my soul as peace floods the Kingdom of Heaven. As the Kingdom of Heaven is within me, peace floods through every cell of my being.
No. I haven’t yet reached that place of total faith in my Divine power. But each day, I continue to recognise that I am a child of Divine Love, not merely a follower of Christ.
This changes my relationship with the Divine
When you are someone’s child, you cannot become more or less of their child. This gives me the certainty that I cannot become “more” of a child of God through my actions or merits, any more than I can become less of a child of God through my failures and mistakes. I have the certainty of being a child.
Unfortunately, many of us judge our relationship with the Divine according to our earthly experiences and broken families. We recognise that parents will disown you or mistreat you, and so judge Spirit accordingly.
But being a child of God is part of your innate nature, the same way that your genes and DNA are inherited. It is part of who you are, internally. You have a divine inheritance, all the power and divinity, this and more.
Are you willing to claim it and live according to your purpose?
Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth as an Heir
God is Spirit, and as children of God, we are spiritual beings, not just human beings. We live on this earth in human form, but our bodies are merely our “spacesuits” for this planet. Ultimately, our essence is spirit, and we are called to worship and live in Spirit and in Truth.
A Christian is a follower of Christ. But in many respects, this limits us to human existence. This limitation of physical body, emotions, thoughts and actions, rather than acknowledging all that we are as spiritual essence and energy.
When we accept that we are children of God, we open ourselves up to the spiritual realm of existence: born of the Spirit, already eternal.
As you go about your day, remember that Divine Love is your rightful inheritance, with everything that this envelops.
Bickerman, Elias J. (April 1949). “The Name of Christians”. The Harvard Theological Review. 42 (2): 109–124