In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, he doesn’t say much before establishing their identity as children of God. He declares, “In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…” As believers, this is our true identity, but it isn’t always easy to apprehend.

While we call God “father,” many of us actually treat him like a divine boss. Like the CEO of a large company, he’s powerful, but standoffish. This heavenly executive cares about our performance above anything else. If we expect to receive anything from him, we better fulfill our duties—making sure we’ve crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s—before we enter into his office. The best we can hope for in response is a, “Good job,” followed by a “Now, get back to work.”  Eventually, this functional view of God will cause us to wear ourselves out, working for a God we don’t know and for an inheritance we already have. 

That’s the difference between children and employees. Children receive while employees earn. A son or daughter’s inheritance is dependent upon relationship, not upon effort. The inheritance that God promised isn’t something we’re earning day in and day out like our paychecks. It’s promised through our position in Christ. It’s not something we can lose during an economic downturn. It’s been secured before time began. 

If what we do is a result of who we think we are, then as children, we are free to receive—not earn. As a dependent child instead of a performing employee, we can embrace the reality that our adoption is and was not dependent upon our ability to fulfill a duty to God. God didn’t choose you because of your resume—he chose you because he loves you.