Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stand up for your rights

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)

The young girl clutched a yellow #2 pencil in her petite right hand with a firm grip. Each of her small, rapid strokes reverberated as she drove the writing utensil across the coarse paper, solving a seemingly endless list of math problems. The harsh, scratching sound of her laborious task, in the otherwise quiet kitchen setting, served only to increase the child's irritation.

My daughter has a beautiful passion for life. She expresses joy with fervent delight; frustration with equaled intensity. She loves school in general, and she adored her third grade elementary teacher in specific. This particular afternoon, however, she sat at the kitchen table muttering continuously under her breath. An inexplicable agitation mounted as she completed each calculation of the mathematics homework that Mrs. Rathbun assigned.

Finally, with a grit resembling the likes of cartoon character Popeye the Sailor, she had all she could stands, she could stands no more! She stood up in protest and placed the worn-tipped pencil on the table's hardwood surface with a definitive "slam." Her white-knuckled fingers grasped her tiny hips as she declared with an attitude of entitlement, "Kids have rights, too, you know! And, I'm standing up for kids' rights!"

The birth of Christ was one of the most significant events in history. At just the right time, God the Father sent His Son to purchase our freedom. The apostle Paul says that through God's divine love and mercy toward us, God takes into His family all who believe in Christ Jesus. He recognizes each one as His adopted child, an heir with full rights.

What great and invaluable rights do we enjoy through Christ?

As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, we have the remarkable privilege of demonstrating compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Through the Holy Spirit, we have the amazing power to bear with each other, forgiving whatever grievances we have against one another. We can forgive as the Lord forgave us.

We can cover all these virtues with a distinctive love that binds them all together in perfect unity. In all our relationships, Christ can rule in our hearts; and we can live with an attitude of peace only He can give.

We have the unending right to give thanks.

We experience the marvelous advantage of Christ's Word dwelling richly within us. With wisdom, as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts to God, we can teach and admonish one another.

Whatever we do in obedience to God, whether in our words or in our actions, we have the incredible privilege to do it all in the name of our Lord Jesus. (Colossians 3:12-17)

In A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories that Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee describes Christmas as "God doing the unexpected for the undeserving." We are undeserving. Yet, the God of the universe came to earth as a baby and was later put to death in order to redeem the lives of broken, sinful people like me and like you. Through Christ Jesus, we receive full rights as heirs of our Heavenly Father.

I never uncovered the source of my daughter's frustration that surrounded her third grade math assignment. I'll admit I got a chuckle out of her fiery display (well, it was really a good belly laugh). I also came to wholeheartedly embrace her passion.

Kids have rights! As God's child, I'm standing up for them. How about you, friend? Will you stand up and exercise your rights?

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

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