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June 13, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children.”— Romans 8:16 (HCSB)
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins is planning to leave the Shire after his birthday party using the One Ring to escape. As he relays his plans to Gandalf, the wizard remarks, “Frodo suspects something." To that, Bilbo responds, “Of course he does. He's a Baggins, not some block-headed Bracegirdle from Hardbottle."
In that statement, Bilbo is implying that being a member of the Baggins family means you carry certain traits, strengths, virtues, and talents. It’s an expectation that one will continue to carry the family name with honor and reflect on what it truly means to be part of the family.
In Romans 8:16, we’re told the Holy Spirit testifies along with our spirit that we’re God’s children, that we are members of the family of God. In the overall passage, Paul says that everyone who has the Spirit in them and is led by the Spirit are children of God. It means we have received a Spirit that gives us the right and privilege to call the God of the universe Daddy. And as His children, we’re also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ.
Just as having the name of Baggins carries certain expectations with it, so does being a child of God. It’s expected that we will love one another (John 13:34), remember the poor (Galatians 2:10), and “look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). It’s also expected we will treat others how we want to be treated (Luke 6:31), love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). In fact, Jesus states that loving our enemies is an essential expectation and responsibility of being a child of the Heavenly Father.
This can actually be one of the hardest things the Lord expects of His children. Sometimes, we have trouble loving our friends and family . . . imagine loving our enemies. But this is one of the clearest indications and evidences of someone’s sonship in Christ. Maybe, just maybe, the problem comes in the way we view our enemies. Maybe it’s the fact we view them as enemies instead of as our neighbors, whom we are expected to love as we love ourselves. Maybe we should stop considering other people—regardless of their beliefs, race, or lifestyle—as enemies and start asking how we can best be a neighbor to them. Then, people will say, “Of course he acts that way . . . He’s a child of God.”
DIG: Are there any expectations that come with being part of your family? What are they? What does it mean to you to be part of your family?
DISCOVER: Do a search on “children of God.” Dive into the passages that talk about what it means to be His children.
DISPLAY: Put into practice what it means to be a child of God. Live out the traits that reflect the love of Christ and make it clear that you belong to Him.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.