And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11 NIV)
I believe that our Heavenly Daddy wants to say the same to us through Christ. Part of the challenge of being a disciple is living out of identity in Christ as the starting point rather than obedience to God. Please hear me. Both are important as a disciple. We, however, must begin with identity for those of us who have given our lives to Christ to be free to live out of obedience to God.
Which phrase from Mark 1:11 do you have difficulty believing God would say about you? You are my child…I love you very much…with you I am well pleased? For many of us it is this idea that God could be pleased with us. We feel as though we must earn our position of favor with God. If so, we have it backwards! As James Moore would say, “If God had a refrigerator; your picture would be on it.” It is about pleasure in knowing God loves you and is proud to be your Heavenly Daddy!
I have two children, Tara and Joe. I am not always excited about every choice they make. I may challenge them, instruct them and even discipline them, but I am proud of them as my children and would die for them if needed! That is what God did for us through Jesus.
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1 NIV)
Jesus knew that one disciple would betray him, most would flee at his arrest and one would hide in the shadows and deny him. So why would he love them to the end? He knew that the best motivation was love! Out of the motivation of love, we are willing to do just about anything for the One who loves us. (Check out I John 4:7-12 for more.)
Teachers, are you communicating God’s love or obedience first? If we are motivated by fear by a Judging God before we are motivated by love from a God willing to die for us, we are missing the point.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (II Timothy 1:7 NIV)
As you consider each lesson, begin with a motivation of love! Follow with the idea of discipline. You may be surprised at your class members’ motivation to follow Christ in a deeper way as they live out of the power, love and self-discipline God equips us with!