TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I recently read Bart Millard’s autobiography, “I Can Only Imagine” (he is the lead singer of the Christian band, MercyMe). At at the back of the book, he shared a list of 75 verses to help you find your identity in Christ. I’ve seen similar lists before but never one quite as comprehensive as this one. Bart wrote, “My mentor, Rusty Kennedy, was integral in discipling me in my walk with Christ. He gave me these 75 verses and statements while I was unpacking my past and starting to understand who I truly am in Jesus.”
If you’re familiar with Bart Millard’s story, you may already know that he came from a very abusive past. So I can well-imagine how comforting these truths have been for him. As for me, I’m thankful that I haven’t had to overcome a similar trauma, but like everyone – I have my own issues. So, after mulling over this for several weeks, and leaving this book lying around (versus cramming it back into my over-packed bookcase), I decided to do a deep dive into these passages.
I’m on my second one now, and the format for my deep dive is 1) everything hand written because I remember things better that way and 2) it goes in this order because I have a slight case of OCD and want all 75 of these to be uniform:
- Bible verse / passage
- Write out three translations (ESV, NLT, and CSB)
- Color code the three passages and annotate specific keywords and notes. Read each of them and determine… What stands out? What is repeated? What are the action words? What are the nouns? Is there a call to action?
- Pull out the key action words and look up the original Greek or Hebrew words; then define them.
- Do the same for nouns.
- Then, cross-reference verses in Scripture that visit the same topic. Write all those out. Highlight the parts that are key. Make notes about stand out thoughts.
- Write statements or questions about the passages.
- Finish with a written prayer about this verse or passage.
For some, it might be overkill, and I’m not going to put myself on a strict timeline / schedule for this. But I really want to understand this in a richer way. For example — the first statement / verse on Bart’s list is “I am a child of God” based on John 1:12. I know this to be true, but knowing something intellectually versus knowing something in your heart are two different things. It’s not enough for me to simply agree and state that yes, I agree, I am a child of God. I want to have it centered in the core of my spirit.
All that said, I’m going to share this first one with you today. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” And as previously mentioned, the corresponding statement is “I am a child of God.”
The action words are “received,” “believed,” “gave,” and “become.” I went back to the original Greek and the words from these verses parallel our definitions. The key nouns are “all” and “children.” Same thing – the Greek correlated.
I cross-referenced based on the CSB translation, and the corresponding verses are:
- 1 John 5:13: “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” This passage highlights belief in Jesus as the Son of God in order to have eternal life.
- 1 John 5:1: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father[a] also loves the one born of him.” This passage also highlights belief, but also emphasizes love for the Father and love for Christ. To truly love God means to truly love Jesus.
- 1 John 3:1: “See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him.” This passage highlights the gift that God gave us in order to make us His children. And drives home the point that—we are!
- Matthew 5:45: “So that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” The emphasis here is on becoming children of God—words spoken directly by Jesus.
- Galatians 3:26: “For through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus.” This goes back to believing. It all boils down to faith, and brought to mind Ephesians 2:8-9 which are my life verses, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” And that in turn, goes back to the gift of God.
- John 11:52: “And not for the nation only, but also to unite the scattered children of God.” This passage emphasizes the children of God. What stood out to me is that God’s gift isn’t for the nation of Israel alone. But it’s for al throughout the world. All believers, no matter where we are from or our cultural backgrounds, are united as children of God.
Some of my ponderings / questions included:
- What does it mean to be a child of God? To be a child of my earthly parents involves obedience, love, respect, honor, a known security, trust, and a desire to please. That all needs to translate to God the Father.
- Our Heavenly Father vs. our earthly father…. A perfect father versus an imperfect father. We cannot hold our earthly fathers to the standard of perfection that God offers. And we cannot hold God accountable for the mistakes that our earthly fathers make. We have to separate our concept of earthly father, including their mistakes, and look to God as the perfect model of fatherhood.
- What does it mean to embody the action words – receive, believe, become? If we believe it, we must be willing to receive it, and then — let it transform us so we can become children of God.
- Because He gave, what does that mean? We take His gift and return it by living out our roles as children of God through obedience, love, respect, honor, trust in Him and the security He offers, and hearts that seek to please Him.
I have my own my prayer on this issue. And now that I’ve given you my research on this statement and verse…
Today, as you pray, thank God for the privilege of being His child. Thank Him for the gift and the sacrifice He made to make this possible. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with an overwhelming gratitude and give you the courage to state, “I am a child of God.”
NOTE: Because I’m handwriting all of this on my iPad with my Apple Pencil, I kind of thought about adding a page to my website and putting these up as PDFs to be shared with anyone who wants to read through my notes. Sort of like how I do my reading list… Post the passage and statement, and then, share my thoughts. If that’s something you’d be interested in having access to, please let me know.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.