James 1:17 says, “Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” This is great news in our changing times. No matter how we respond, the Giver of the gift never changes.
Kingdom citizens live with this radical truth! God’s gift of salvation and subsequent spiritual gifts are not based on our acceptance or rejection, our worthiness or unworthiness, our temperament, or our personality types—all of which the culture deems important. God’s gifts are based solely on His unchanging, gift-giving love. Our culture bases much of its behavioral values upon the gifts people receive and the gifts they are able to give. We, as the body of Christ, have the gift our culture truly needs, and it is our challenge to accept and share the gift of Christ through our spiritual gifts. As leaders, we must challenge the women we lead to do the same.
We must first embrace the truth that we are made in the image of God and are created with a purpose. Paul’s words in Ephesians 1 tell us how blessed we are. We have our inheritance in Christ Jesus. We are chosen, holy, blameless, adopted, redeemed, and forgiven according to the riches of His grace. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. What is His is ours, because we are His. God’s words to us are like the Father’s words to the elder brother, “‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.'” (Luke 15:31).
Women of each generation can help women of other generations realize that acceptance depends not upon the world’s standard, but on Christ’s. “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” (Gen. 1:27). Verse 31 says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” We are “very good” in the estimation of God.
Jesus claimed His birthright and His position as the Son of God. His mission was to die on the cross, taking our place, and giving us new birth. Jesus came to show us what God, His Father, looks like. Jesus asks us to claim our birthright in Him and to live in such a way that others know we are His.
Jesus said to His earthly parents, “I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49, NKJV).
Jesus said to His disciples, Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works.” (John 14:10).
Jesus says to us, “[You] will do even greater works than these” (John 14:12).
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He showed the world what God is like in human flesh. Just as Jesus did His Father’s work and modeled for the disciples what that looked like, He calls us to imitate God the Father today. We can do that by keeping our eyes on Jesus.
At family reunions we hear remarks like, “She has her mother’s eyes” or, “He is just like his grandfather.” While visiting my oldest granddaughter, she said, “Nana, just look! My mother’s hands are just like yours.” Then she looked at her own hands and said, “And my hands look just like my mother’s. Wow, Nana!” She was correct. My daughter has my hands and eyes. Her three daughters have her hands and eyes.One of the miracles and joys of grandparenting is seeing the grandchildren and recognizing the family likeness. That is both frightening and exciting!
We are children of the Heavenly Father, and we share a family resemblance. Does our Heavenly Father delight in our likeness to Him? To be made in His image is an awesome privilege and responsibility. Perhaps heaven will be like a family reunion where everyone notices how much each of us resembles our Heavenly Father. I believe we best reflect our Father when we accept our position in Christ, claiming our kinship and remembering whose we are. We should give thanks to our Creator Father and ask Him to help us grow to be more like Him.
This article is adapted from a chapter written by Esther Burroughs and found in Women Reaching Women: Beginning and Building a Growing Women’s Ministry compiled by Chris Adams.