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Our Identity: Heirs

A friend of mine held a prominent position working for a financial services sector giant. His future there was even brighter, except for one thing: the political climate in the upper echelon of that corporation was highly combative, and my friend was repeatedly told, “You need to learn to throw your weight around.” Mulling this over for some time, my friend ultimately concluded, “That’s not who I am, and I’m never going to be that person.” He left his promising prospects there to pursue something more richly rewarding—a profession in a culture consistent with who he knew himself to be.

How noble the character of one who will not compromise it for worldly gain but lives instead in the freedom of who God has made us to be in Christ. Then how vital it is to absorb and accept this facet of our being: we are adopted children of God and heirs to His kingdom. In recent weeks, we have seen that the Spirit of God breathes life into all who believe in the Son of God, and that God has united us with Christ—He lives in us, and we live in Him. (See links below.) Listen then as Paul tells us what this means for us: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 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 . . . ”1 Inheritors of eternal life in the Kingdom of God—this is who we must know ourselves to be.

Our celestial Kingdom home draws nearer each day, yet we have terrestrial Kingdom purpose in “the here and now”—to bring God glory. So how do we live “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ“?2 We serve. Said Jesus to the crowd, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”3 This is what Jesus did, so this is what we do in Him. This is who Jesus is, and this is who we must know ourselves to be—children, heirs and co-heirs with purpose: to glorify God.

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”—Matthew 25:34

Abba, Father, how good You are that You would adopt us as Your children and make a way for us to inherit Your Kingdom! Fill us, lead us and empower us to do what You call us to do today. Be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

1 Romans 8:15-17
2 Titus 2:13
3 Matthew 5:16

Prior posts on our identity in Christ
Our Identity: We Are Forever Alive
Our Identity: With/In

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What God Ordains

A few years ago, I participated in an author signing event. Peggy joined me for the day, mingling with the crowd and casually sending people my way. At some point, I noticed her sitting and conversing with another author—admittedly a more interesting one. Sue Thomas had become profoundly deaf at 18 months, yet through persevering parents and continual speech therapy, Sue learned to speak well. After graduating from college, she joined the FBI as a fingerprint examiner, but when the Bureau discovered Sue’s lip-reading expertise, they assigned her to an undercover surveillance team pursuing high-profile crime cases. Sue became the inspiration for the television series: Sue Thomas, F.B. Eye. On our way home, Peggy shared a pearl of wisdom she gained from this woman of great faith. Sometime after suffering a stroke, Sue had been invited to speak to a group. When her concerned assistant questioned whether she was strong enough to endure the event, Sue replied, “What God ordains He will sustain.” She accepted the invitation and kept the appointment.

It is easy and normal to consider the enormity of God’s call through the lens of our natural limitations. When God commissioned Moses to demand that Pharaoh release the Israelites, Moses objected, citing his ineloquence. Answered God, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”1 What God ordains He will sustain. When the angel of the Lord called Gideon to go and save Israel from their oppressors, he also objected, for his clan was the weakest in their tribe, and he was the “least” in his family. “I will be with you,” replied the Lord, “and you will strike down all the Midianites.”2 What God ordains He will sustain. Still today, God sends us, His people, into intimidating circumstances—“like sheep among wolves”3—with the message of life in Christ and in humble service in His name. When tempted to balk at our commission and to reason why not to go forward in faith, we must remember this: What God ordains He will sustain.

In Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee’s timeless teaching on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the twentieth-century Chinese church planter wrote, “The greatness of [the Lord’s] demands upon us only shows how confident he is that the resources he has put within us are fully enough to meet them. God does not command what he will not perform, but we must throw ourselves back on him for the performance.”4 Yes, God calls us to adventures beyond our ability, for they exist fully within His. Are you up to it today?

Father, You desire to work Kingdom wonders through Your Kingdom people. Inspire us to stand in Your strength and to remember that what You ordain You will sustain. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Exodus 4:11
2 Judges 6:16
3 Matthew 10:16
4 Nee, W. (1977). Sit, Walk, Stand (Repkg). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale Entertainment, 29.

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Running with Purpose

I heard a new family story over the holidays. My niece, Meghan—I’ve written before of her excellence as a high school track athlete—was competing one day in the 400-meter dash. As she ran this grueling event, her mind actually wandered for a while, losing sight of her situation until at some point she snapped back to the reality of the moment. “And I realized, ‘I’m in a race!’” she recalled. Then regaining her focus, Meghan mustered a final “kick” and won. I find her story to be so unrelatable on so many levels—running fast and thinking about anything other than gasping for air, to name a couple. Yet in another sense, Meghan’s story serves as a reminder to all of us that our life here is more than going through the motions while we stride toward the finish line and what awaits us on the other side—we run this life with a very specific purpose.

And what might this purpose be? What is it that demands our all? We are here to bring glory to God. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus exhorted those gathered to hear him, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”1 We do this by letting Jesus shine in us and through us in all things and at all times. Wrote Paul to Corinthian believers, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”2 The glory of God—this is why we are here; this is “the reality of the moment” on which we fix our focus.

Then how does this celestial aspiration become reality in our terrestrial existence? We align our will with God’s will in trusting union with Him, so that we “do not run aimlessly.”3 And we rely on His strength, for “by his power he [brings] to fruition [our] every desire for goodness and [our] every deed prompted by faith . . . so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in [us], and [we] in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”4

We’re in a race! We run with purpose: To bring God glory. We win in Christ.

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:8

Father, sometimes my mind wanders and my focus drifts away from You. Draw me back into the moment that I would live with purpose—to glorify You in all things by the power of Your Spirit. In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 Matthew 5:16
2 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
3 1 Corinthians 9:26 ESV
4 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12