Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
I often say that we are children of God. It’s easy to say, and it’s an easy phrase to quickly describe our relationship with God. “I am a child of God.” Have we truly pondered what that means and considered the ramifications, and do we really believe it?
Before Jesus came upon the scene, God was thought of in terms of Lord, or God, and nothing very personal. Jesus brought to us the idea of a personal God, and referred to God in a personal way, as Father. The society of that time was highly patriarchal so a “Father” reference would have been appropriate. Everyone was known by their father - this is Joseph, son of Eli. In those days, who are father was influenced our place in society, our economic status, occupation, even our future spouse. If the Bible were written today, there would have been more of a balance between maternal and paternal references.
But the point here is this: Jesus referred to God in a personal manner, yes, as Father. Even more personal than that was that he referred to God as Abba, which would translate today as Pappa or Dad. It was a loving colloquial term of the day and how children and even adults referred to their own fathers. It was a word that carried familiarity, tenderness, and affection.
Jesus recognized and taught that we had an immediate and direct relationship with God; he spoke to Him and prayed to Him as Dad, in an intimate manner. Jesus explained that earthly fathers want to give their children everything they can, and yet how much greater is God’s desire and capacity to give to us.
“Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
The emphasis of my talk today is not about God the Father, but we, the children. It is unimportant whether we look to God as Father, or Mother, or Friend, or something less personal, as Creator, Source, Universal Mind, or the Divine One. The importance is that we are offspring of that Divine Parent. We were created so that we can awaken to this truth and express that Divinity into Creation.
Romans 8:14-17 teaches: "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
To be a child of God is the ultimate gift the Universe can bestow upon us. We have been told that we are made in the likeness and the image of God. This means that as spiritual beings with form, or human bodies, it is our spiritual natures that are the likeness and the image of God. Our human form is in the likeness and image of our human parents. Our human form takes on the characteristics of both our earthly father’s and mother’s lineage through their DNA.
When it comes to God, our spiritual natures inherit everything of God. All that God is, we are. God is love; therefore, we are love. God is abundance, we are abundance; God is wholeness, we are wholeness. Every aspect of God is reflected in each of us.
Sometimes we forget this simple and profound idea, and we start looking for something that we have never lost. It is our egos that try to make us more important, and somehow separate from God. If we are separate, then perhaps we can matter more.
When asked by his disciples, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus took the moment to teach a powerful lesson. The question really was, “What characteristics are most important to God in His people?”
Jesus responded by saying, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” meaning that you will not experience all of God’s good for us.
The disciples’ idea that greatness would get them into the Kingdom was born of the human ego. They thought someone had to be a conqueror, more like David or Phinehas, or send down fire upon the enemies like Elijah. But Jesus taught that it is not bravado or spectacular works that aligns us with His good. Rather it is a childlike humility, purity of motive, openness, and unconflicted simple trust that allows God’s good to flow to us and through us. It is the absence of ego that unblocks the channels for God’s kingdom to flow.
Being a child of God means that it is our nature to be loving, trusting, humble, and pure. It is only when we allow our human selves to get in the way that we cannot see clearly. As a child of God, we lack nothing. All of God’s blessings are ours to be had. It is our divine inheritance. We have a spiritual banking system of good that can never be undermined, except through our own egos and lust for greed, control, and treasures on earth.
We inherit wonderful privileges as a Child of God: security in our position with God. We cannot lose our ‘parent-child’ relationship with God. Through our ‘childship’ status we are not mere slaves or servants. Romans 8:15 – You didn't receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, "Abba, Father."
Being aware of our Child of God status enables us to move through our lives and the world knowing that we have been given authority over evil, wrongdoing, and intolerance. We choose our way, choose our thoughts, and choose to walk with the honor of God.
What we think about ourselves is what determines our life. If we think we are worthy and deserving, we are. If we think we are capable, we are. If we think we are loving, peaceful, and supported by God in all we do, so it is. But we choose; we decide.
From Luke 14:15-24 we read: When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ ...
God is calling to us to come to dinner: it is our choice whether we accept and give thanks for the invitation and take our place at the banquet table and enjoy the feast … or not. We are being called to live and know God, as our Divine Parent, Source, Creator, Heavenly Father, and Divine Mother. Are we paying attention? Are we making excuses?
To be a child of God is to recognize in every other face another child of God. It is to love one another, and to say ‘Namaste’ to all that we encounter, “The Christ in me beholds the Christ in you. We are one in Spirit; we are brothers and sisters.”
Rumi, a Sufi Poet from the 13th Century wrote these words that I encourage each of us to hold dear, “I go to the Jewish synagogue, I go to the Christian church, I go to the Muslim Mosque, and I see the same altar, and I feel the same spirit.” Regardless of how we see God, we are part of one family, because we are a Child of God. That thought alone is worthy of a lifetime of prayerful consideration and heartfelt gratitude.