For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

Ephesians 3: 14, 15

Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, is amazing, and people have become utterly fascinated by the information that is gained by studying it. Every person on earth today and throughout all of history possesses DNA that is uniquely our own; yet, at the same time, that DNA reveals our relationship to people living and dead who come from places around the world. Our DNA presents a picture of each of us that helps to establish a form of identity for us, but this identity, individually unique as it may be, is nothing more than a partial picture of who we actually are. People are complex, and the components that make up our nature, character, and personality are formed out of many ingredients that are brought together through the agency of numerous forces and factors over the course of a lifetime. Still, beyond all of these earthly and human influences upon our formation, there is a greater and a more fundamental actor involved in granting us our deepest identity.

In the Bible, especially in Hebrew literature, the act of naming a person is important. The name conveys both desired outcome and a reflection upon the observed character of the person. Sometimes these aspects of life are at odds with each other; so, when God is the one who is doing the naming, He is frequently seeing something that is to come in the future and through the work of His hand in and upon that person. God is our Creator. That individual strand of DNA is something that His hand designed and fabricated. Yet, even that complex and definitive structure does not fully set out who we are or what we might become. God’s work in people is extraordinary in its capacity for causing change, growth, and transformation. We may be known for one sort of behavior today, but through the work of the Spirit in our lives, we might go in a completely different direction tomorrow. This is the wonder and this is the hope of God’s grace as He pours it out onto people like you and me.

Paul is pointing us toward what I believe to be one of the most important aspects of entering into this work of transformation and that is submission to God and surrender to Christ. As Paul speaks of bowing his knees before the Father, this is exactly what he is doing. He is saying that he is surrendering control over his life and over this day, and he is giving that control over to the Lord to take him wherever He wants and to do with him whatever Christ desires to do. This is total surrender to God, and this sort of thing is generally very uncomfortable or even terrifying for most of us to consider doing. Yet, God is faithful and true to His word to lead us along paths of righteousness and to protect our souls from harm throughout that journey of faith. As we submit to Christ’s will, we are given the name Faithful Servant. When we set aside all of our wishes, wants, and desires for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are proclaimed by the Lord to be Beloved in His Eyes. The name that we carry throughout our days is important, and the family that we come from is interesting to study, but the name that God gives to each of us is what signifies our true identity in Christ.    

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For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

Ephesians 3: 14, 15

 

Some people come from very large families. When they decide that they will gather together, the planning can take years. Moving an army across the globe can require less in the way of planning and preparation than these reunions demand. Others come from families that are small enough that it would be hard to find enough players for a game of basketball at that reunion, even if skill or physical condition were not a factor. However, in Christ, we all are adopted into a new family. Our belief in Him brings about a change in our relational status in that God adopts us back into the relationship with Him that was God’s design and intent in Creation. Everyone who knows Christ is inter-related and connected together by virtue of Christ’s blood and through the agency of God’s grace.

 

Unfortunately, the thing that is on my mind as I consider the way that God has worked to restore our relationship with Him and to bring people from across the world and over time together in the common bond of family is just how poorly most of us actually function in this new family. We often put out great effort in our attempts to protect and to preserve ideas and beliefs that are secondary or are minor in comparison to the great foundational truths of God. People who claim to know Christ are too ready to seek out our differences as we build protective walls around church gatherings and stand pridefully atop a watchtower that is constructed out of doctrine. Yet, throughout history, defensive walls and towers have seldom survived the assault of a determined enemy. Make no mistake about it; Christ’s enemy in this world is very determined.

 

God’s desire for all people is that we would recognize Him as Lord and follow Him as our sovereign King. In so doing, we become a part of a great family of faith that spans the globe and that recognizes no differences and allows no room for superiority over other people. Our strength for the battle that is life in this world comes from our unity. We gain in our knowledge and our understanding of God as we share perspective and experience together. No human fully comprehends who God is and has a total grasp on His will. When we approach each other with hearts and minds that are open and yielded to the Spirit’s leading, we are likely to learn more of His will and to see a much bigger picture of God’s redemptive working in the lives of people. Like all gatherings of people who have not seen each other for long periods of time, there will be wariness and awkward moments at first. However, as Christ is our common bond, His Spirit will bring us together with understanding and acceptance. In Christ we are members of a great family whose name is God’s Children.

 

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

Ephesians 3: 14, 15

 

Some people come from very large families. When they decide that they will gather together, the planning can take years. Moving an army across the globe can require less in the way of planning and preparation than these reunions demand. Others come from families that are small enough that it would be hard to find enough players for a game of basketball at that reunion, even if skill or physical condition were not a factor. However, in Christ, we all are adopted into a new family. Our belief in Him brings about a change in our relational status in that we are adopted by God back into the relationship with Him that was God’s design and intent in Creation. Everyone who knows Christ is inter-related and connected together by virtue of Christ’s blood and through the agency of God’s grace.

 

Unfortunately, the thing that is on my mind as I consider the way that God has worked to restore our relationship with Him and to bring people from across the world and over time together in the common bond of family is just how poorly most of us actually function in this new family. We often put out great effort in our attempts to protect and to preserve ideas and beliefs that are secondary or are minor in comparison to the great foundational truths of God. People who claim to know Christ are too ready to seek out our differences as we build protective walls around church gatherings and stand pridefully atop a watchtower that is constructed out of doctrine. Yet, throughout history, defensive walls and towers have seldom survived the assault of a determined enemy. Make no mistake about it; Christ’s enemy in this world is very determined.

 

God’s desire for all people is that we would recognize Him as Lord and follow him as our sovereign King. In so doing, we become a part of a great family of faith that spans the globe and that recognizes no differences and allows no room for superiority over other people. Our strength for the battle that is life in this world comes from our unity. We gain in our knowledge and our understanding of God as we share perspective and experience together. No human fully comprehends who God is and has a total grasp on His will. When we approach each other with hearts and minds that are open and yielded to the Spirit’s leading, we are likely to learn more of His will and to see a much bigger picture of God’s redemptive working in the lives of people. Like all gatherings of people who have not seen each other for long periods of time, there will be wariness and awkward moments at first. However, as Christ is our common bond, His Spirit will bring us together with understanding and acceptance. In Christ we are members of a great family whose name is Children of God.