I love being able to see clearly! Except when I’m at home . . .
then I take off my glasses so I don’t see the dust. Ignorance is bliss sometimes! Until company comes, that is. Then the glasses go on so I can see correctly. They really alter my perspective!
There have been times when I’ve left the house, gotten in the car, and realized my glasses were still on the kitchen table. It’s not a good idea to drive half blind!
My reading in Luke 3 today got me thinking about having a spiritually altered perspective that leads to changed behavior.
John was preaching in the wilderness before Jesus came on the scene.
“Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven” (verse 3, NLT).
“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (verse 8).
John preached about repentance: a change in perspective that results in changed actions.
What kind of perspective change could lead us to live differently as followers of Christ? I think it has a lot to do with how we see ourselves.
Who Are We?
Let’s start with verses 21 and 22:
“One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
That word “son” means that Jesus shares the same nature as his Father.
Did you know that Greek word is the same as what’s used elsewhere in Scripture talking about you and me as children of God?
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26)
“And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).
The world should be able to identify us as followers of Christ by the way we live. Our nature should emulate that of our Father. If we truly see ourselves as his children, we should try to be like him through the power of the Spirit within us!
“What Should We Do?”
That’s the question the crowds asked John. How do we prove by the way we live that we belong to God? His response can be summed up as “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.’ Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He replied, ‘Collect no more taxes than the government requires.’ ‘What should we do?’ asked some soldiers. John replied, ‘Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay’ (Luke 3:11-14).
Hmm. I wonder where we’ve heard that idea before. Here are a few other things Jesus tells us we can do to show we are children of God:
“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (Matthew 5:43-45).
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:35-36).
We are loved by our Heavenly Father, but so is the rest of the world. Let’s be conduits of his grace and mercy today, and be shining examples of his loving character to those who may not know him yet!
Are you wearing your glasses today?