By Kyle Idleman
When my daughter Morgan was little I used to tell her, “If I could line up all the little girls in the world, I would choose you.” As she grew up I would always pray with her before bed. When Morgan was seven, she started praying every night, “God, if I could line up all the dads in the whole world and I could choose only one, I would choose this one right here.” I knew it was coming but it still got me, each and every time.
Do you know why Jesus came? Because God chose you. No one made him choose you. But, He chose you. You are a child of God and that changes everything for your life.
God Wants To Be Our Father
God is our Father. He wants to be my Father and He wants to be your Father. The problem is that we have rejected God and left home. Just like in the parable Jesus told of the prodigal son. Our sin alienated us from Him, but God never lost His desire to be our Father. So He makes an offer that only God can make. God offers to adopt us.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”
When the Bible was being written, adoption was chosen as the explanation for what God was offering to us. Interestingly, if you study adoption in Roman culture, the adopted person lost all of his or her rights to their old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate child in the new family. They became an heir to the adopted father’s estate. Even if there were already natural born children in that family, the adopted child was considered equal co-heirs of the estate.
In Roman culture when a child was adopted, their past was formally put behind them. For instance, all of their debts were completely cancelled. It was declared a fresh start, a new beginning. In the eyes of Roman law, an adopted child was absolutely the child of his or her parents.
You Are A Child Of God
That’s a great picture of what God has done for us, through Jesus. He has adopted us. We become His heirs. The Bible tells us that in Galatians 4:7, “So you are no longer a slave, but a child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” As an heir, we have full ownership of our Father’s estate. Our past is put behind us and we get a new beginning as a child of God.
God Made A Choice To Adopt Us
I love how adoption so beautifully illustrates what God has done for us. What I love most is that the word adoption means, “being chosen.” God lined up all His kids, and He chose you.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:4-5)
When I was born, my parents didn’t choose me. They couldn’t ask for a different baby, or send me back. I was not selected. I try to make my kids feel chosen. This is where the meaning of my playful expression, “if I could line up all the kids, I’d choose you” originates from.
One night, I said it to my youngest daughter, Macy. I said, “Macy, if I could line up all the five-year-olds in the whole world, and I could only choose one, I would choose you.” Macy rolled her eyes and said, “You have to say that. If you didn’t choose me, they would make you take me because I’m your daughter.” Macy isn’t as sentimental as Morgan. I didn’t ask her who “they” were, but she’s right. “They” would make me take her.
I try to make my kids feel chosen, but I didn’t choose them.
God chose you. No one made him choose you. He chose you, and that changes everything for you.
We Become Heirs Of God
A preaching professor named Fred Craddock tells the story of a time he was in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with his wife. They were eating at a restaurant when they noticed a distinguished white-haired gentleman going from table to table shaking hands with everyone. Craddock said to his wife, “Boy, I hope he doesn’t come over here and interfere with our private meal tonight.”
Soon the man showed up at their table, asking, “Where are you folks from?” Craddock answered, “We’re from Oklahoma.” The man said, “Splendid state. I’ve never been there but I’ve heard some great things about it.” He asked, “What do you do for a living?”
Craddock thought, “This will shut him up” and said, “Well, I teach people how to preach.” The guy grabbed a chair and sat down. He said, “Preacher, I’ve got a story I want to tell you.”
Go And Claim Your Inheritance
He said, “I was born over in the mountains not too far from here, but when I was born my mother wasn’t married. That was pretty rough. People could be pretty cruel to me. Back when I was in school, at recess and lunchtime, just to get away from the taunts and the remarks that people would say, I would go off all by myself, because they had a name that they called me. It described my illegitimate birth. It didn’t get much better on Saturdays. When I would go downtown I knew that everybody would be looking at me as I would go into the movies. They would just stare at me. It was as if everybody was speculating, “I wonder who his dad is?” And they would take a look at my face and try to size me up. It was rather uncomfortable.
But I’ll never forget when I was twelve-years-old, a new preacher came to our church. When I went to church I would go in late and leave early, so that I would never have to talk to the preacher, or anyone else for that matter. I was so embarrassed and I was always on edge because of my heritage. But one day the benediction came rather quickly and it was rather abrupt. I found myself caught in the crowd and I couldn’t get out quick enough.
All of a sudden, I felt this heavy hand on my shoulder. The preacher looked at me and said, “Whose boy are you? Whose son are you?” I thought, “Oh, man! Now the preacher is just like my schoolyard friends.” I trembled, unable to say anything, and it felt like all eyes in the entire area were looking at me. A sudden smile crept across the preacher’s face and he said, “I know who you are! I see the family resemblance now. You are a child of God. God is your daddy.” And he slapped me on the back and he said, “Boy, go and claim your inheritance.”
The man looked at Craddock and said, “That one single sentence changed my life.” He then got up and walked away. Craddock asked the waitress if she knew who the man was. She smiled and said, “Of course. Everybody here knows him. That’s Ben Hooper. He’s the former governor of Tennessee!”
God is your daddy. If He took all the people in this world and lined them up, He’d still choose you. You’ve been adopted. You are a child of God. Now go and claim your inheritance.
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