Well here we are in week 4 of "A Confident Heart" online Bible study. This week our inspirational Bible verse is John 1:12:
"Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."
I wanted to dig a little deeper into this verse by sharing some of the other translations:
"But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become children of God, that is to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, rely on) His name." Amplified
"But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God." Easy-to-Read Version
"However, He gave the right to become God's children to everyone who believed in Him."
God's Word Translation
"But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God." Tree of Life Version
Now here is the same verse in the New International Reader's Version, but I decided to go another verse deeper in this translation because I found it so meaningful:
"12Some people did accept Him. They believed in His name and gave them the right to become children of God. 13To be a child of God has nothing to do with human parents. Children of God are not born because of human choice or because a husband wants the to be born. They are born because of what God does."
Once I read all of these translations, I started thinking about what it really means to be a "Child of God". Does being a child of God mean you have to walk a straight line in everything you say and do? Does it mean we need to lead the perfect Christian example? No. To me, being a child of God doesn't mean any of those things. Actually, we would be setting ourselves up for a pretty big failure if we tried to be children of God by doing those things because we are far from perfect and we are going to make mistake after mistake...just the way God intended. As the verse clearly spells out, we are all born as children of God because of what God does not because of anything that we do. I think we mess up with what we don't do. God is always present and willing for us to receive Him. He never goes anywhere, and He is everywhere. He is a constant. We are the ones who must accept Him, believe in Him, trust in His Holy name. I know as well as anyone else that trusting God isn't exactly a cake walk because I'm just as flawed as the next girl...on some days even more.
When I think about being a child of God, I often think about my daughter. She is a beautiful three year old gift from God who thankfully still has plenty of innocence and her heart and mind haven't been tainted with much negativity at this point. We have raised her knowing God and praying to God, and teach her how important it is to talk to God everyday and that she can go to Him with anything. If something really great has happened, she can thank Him. If someone is sick or in trouble, she can pray for God to help them. She, herself, was in the midst of a terrible cold this week, so before bed, we said a special prayer that God would heal her and make her better. She's had restful nights of sleep ever since. When we talked about her getting better the next day, we said "God made you better! Isn't that great?" She was so excited, and it's things like that which make me think about what it means to be a child of God. Though she may not have a true grasp what it means to trust God and have faith in His promises, if I ask her, "Caroline, when we are sick, who makes us better?" She immediately shouts, "God!" Not doctors (even though they sure help) or medicine or even Mommy and Daddy. Just God.
How I wish I could be like Caroline and immediately think of God and what He will do in the midst of trouble...to always know without a doubt that He will not fail. Instead, many times I rely on what I or someone else can do to fix the trouble. But being a child of God doesn't mean that we are never going to make mistakes or that we are never going to try and "fix" things ourselves before remembering that God is still here waiting. But to me, it means that we know in spite of all that, in spite of all our mistakes and mess ups, we know that God loves us still, and just as He promised, He will not leave or forsake us no matter what we say or do. We have loads of Bible stories and hopefully stories from our own lives that show just how much God loves us and is here for us. We just have to trust in His very name! I love being a child of God!