by Neil Anderson
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
Claire attended a church college ministry I was involved in several years ago. On a physical, material level, Claire had absolutely nothing going for her. She had a dumpy figure and a bad complexion. Her father was a drunken bum who had deserted his family. Her mother worked two menial jobs just to make ends meet. Her older brother, a drug addict, was always in and out of the house.
When I first met Claire I was sure she was the ultimate wallflower. I didn’t think there was any way she could compete for acceptance in a college-aged society which is attracted to physical beauty and material success. But to my delight, I learned that everybody in the group liked Claire and loved to be around her. She had lots of friends. And eventually she married the nicest guy in our college department.
What was her secret? Claire simply believed what she perceived herself to be: a child of God. She accepted herself for who God said she was in Christ, and she confidently committed herself to God’s great goal for her life: to be conformed to His image and to love people. She wasn’t a threat to anyone. Instead, she was so positive and caring toward others that everyone loved her.
Claire’s experiences illustrate the importance of establishing our Christian lives on what we believe instead of how we behave. She knew that she couldn’t compete with the world, so she gladly accepted her spiritual heritage, believed God, and lived accordingly. We need a firm grip on God’s Word before we will experience much success at practical Christianity. We need to understand who we are as a result of who God is and what He has done. A productive Christian behavior system is the byproduct of a solid Christian belief system, not the other way around.
Prayer: Thank You for the Claires in my world, Lord, who reflect Your beauty. Forgive me for focusing on myself instead of looking to You and seeking Your eternal qualities.