Adopted in Christ

April 27, 2023

Years ago, one of my friends adopted a little girl from China. It had been a long journey (financially, emotionally, spiritually, and geographically), but eventually they were back home in Cedar Rapids with their daughter.

A couple days after getting home, Heather (the mom) put her new daughter in a high chair, then poured some Cheerios on the tray so her daughter could eat a little something while Heather prepared supper for the family. But as Heather turned around to put the cereal box away, she heard a scrambling noise from the high chair. Heather's little girl was frantically grabbing fistfuls of Cheerios and cramming them in her mouth, as if someone was going to come along and take the cereal away.

Heather told me her mama's heart broke in that moment. She realized her daughter was acting like she was still at the orphanage back in China, and not as though she was now part of a family that would not only NOT take her Cheerios away, but could provide her with more snacks than she could ever imagine.

Adopted into a New Identity

If you follow Jesus, you've been adopted into the family of God through the Gospel. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:15 that when you put your faith in Jesus, you...

"received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father!"

Romans 8:15b (ESV)
Adopted In Christ • Riverwood Church

Did you see it? You've been adopted in Christ as God's son! (If you are female, don't be offended by that word "sons." In ancient Israel, sons received the inheritance. God is saying through Paul that anyone (women included) who is adopted by God receives the inheritance!)

Unfortunately, Jesus-followers too often act as though they haven't been adopted. They act like Heather's little girl, not trusting that God can provide for His children. But when you put your faith in Jesus, God didn't just sign an earthly legal document in front of a judge making you His – He, the True Judge, wrote His name on your heart and your name into the book of life of heaven, giving you a completely new identity.

Living out your Adoption

While I have lost touch with Heather, I'm quite confident her daughter no longer grabs panicked fistfuls of Cheerios. Her daughter eventually realized she was living in a completely different place with a completely new family. In other words, her way of living caught up with her new identity as the daughter of Steve and Heather.

Likewise, you have a completely new identity through your faith in Christ. If you do not feel like you are living out this new identity, here are three simple things you can do:

  1. Read Scripture.
    God wrote the Bible through specific people to teach His followers specific things. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) So let God teach you about your new identity! If you don't like reading, try listening to Scripture through the Bible app. And if you don't know what to read, try Romans 8, Galatians 4, or 1 John 3 as each talks about your adoption into the family of God.
  2. Pray.
    Ask God to empower you to live out your new identity. Ask Him to show you where you are still clutching Cheerios. And ask Him to grow your faith so you trust your loving Heavenly Father more and more.
  3. Remind Yourself of your Identity.
    Download this list, print it off, then put it somewhere you will regularly see it and can regularly read it. Perhaps pick one item each day to pray about and ask God to help you truly understand the truth.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you are now a child of God! May you live out your new identity as an adopted "son" of God in Christ.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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