A lot of folks on social media are writing about what they are thankful for this November. I have so much to be grateful for this year. Joni is now an eleven year cancer survivor. New grandbabies have joined the tribe. Good health to enjoy those little blessings. Wonderful family and friends. A job I enjoy.
The truth is that most of the things on the list are out of my control. I can’t dictate Joni’s or my own health. I know that grandchildren are a gift some don’t get to enjoy. Job situations change without notice. Some may struggle with a family member or the betrayal of a friend. Thanksgiving may be a little less obvious for some reading these words this year. But there is one gift that is available to everyone. You don’t have to worry that it may change or go away. That gift is grace. The gift of being in a relationship with God and knowing that you are His beloved child. In fact, you can know that you are His favorite!
The wonderful truth that all followers of Jesus can be thankful for this year is that being His favorite comes from something other than our performance and obedience. In fact, it has nothing to do with our performance. It has everything to do with Jesus performance for us.
I am a recovering legalist so this has been a struggle for me. I wrote this in Stay about what Jesus has already DONE for us.
We should not be surprised that people respond positively when they are told how much they matter. More important, we matter to God. His Word is full of affirmation for those who choose to trust Him.
To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
(John 1:12, NLT)
You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2:9-10, The Message)
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. (Ephesians 1:4, NLT)
We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15, ESV)
Jesus calls me His friend. Even when those around you are failing to fill up your affirmation bucket, you can still go to Scripture and find out how God feels about you. Is there a more important affirmation than that? When you believe that your heavenly Father recognizes your worth, it gets easier to find things to affirm in others. How can I suffer from a poor self-image if this is true? Jesus calls me friend, for goodness’ sake!
(Reprinted from Stay with Permission of Tyndale Publishing House)
I am a friend of Jesus. I am His favorite when I obey and I am His favorite when I don’t obey. It is so hard for me to believe that His one way love toward me never changes. His love for me happened long before I even knew my desperate need for a Savior.
But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NET)
When I can begin to wrap my pea brain around that amazing truth then I want more than anything to be obedient. It is a complete paradigm shift from my early teaching. Now I serve in obedience out of gratitude and joy. Before I tried to be obedient to avoid punishment or loss of my very soul. What a difference to believe that at the Cross Jesus made me (and you) His favorite. No fine print. No strings attached.
How do you become God’s favorite? If you are a follower of Jesus I have some really good news. You already are. And that is something to be truly thankful for this year.