See what kind of love the Father has given to us,
that we should be called children of God;
and so we are.
-1 John 3:1a
I’ve been a Christian for a long time.
I grew up learning about this God-Man named Jesus in places like church, school, and home. I knew of His miracles, His teaching, His life story. I studied the Bible – for Awana, for homework, to know Him more personally, to talk about Him in small group settings. I learned Him through felt figures and Sunday school lessons, books and movies, lectures and devotionals. I memorized Scripture for church programs, classes at school, and youth group challenges. I’ve led children in learning memory verses in vacation Bible schools in Kentucky and in gypsy villages in Romania. I’ve heard sermon after sermon after sermon – from church pews and high school gymnasiums, in concert venues and mess halls, via podcasts and retreats and conferences. I have been surrounded by Jesus, Christianity, and the Word of God my entire life. But it wasn’t until the Spring of 2015 that I finished reading through the entire Bible – cover to cover.
It took three years for me to complete the “read through the Bible in a year” plan, but high up in the clouds on an airplane last March, I journaled from the last section of Scripture on my little list. And just like that, I had read His every exhalation onto page.
This verse – 1 John 3:1 – is one that I had already read multiple times over. And yet, as is often the case with the living Word, I found myself drawn in to it. The Father has lavished his love on us, calling us His children – and so we are. Simply because He says it.
He says it, and so we are.
The world may shout that we’re one thing, but even His faintest whisper stands as truth over it. Lies and insecurities may run wild in our minds, but the truth doesn’t shift or change at those whispers. They’re crushed at His feet. Our identity rests in nothing other than the Lord. It is what He establishes that remains and rings true.
He calls us His beloved. His people. His children.
His, His, His.
And so we are.
He chooses to lavish His love on us, giving it freely, without a deserving action on our part.
And so it is.
He says we are fully seen, fully known, fully and freely forgiven and set free.
And so we are.
I want to claim this truth and live it out in every heartbeat and inhalation. I want to remember who He has said that I am and who He has said that you are. I want to remember and use every bit of that truth to run, run, run my race. And I want to remind those running in lanes nearby.
He says we are, collectively, the beloved children of a good and gracious Father who lavishes love on us in delight.