January 23, 2018 • Life for Leaders
[In love] he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we focused on the fact that we belong to God because he has adopted us through Jesus Christ. We are God’s sons and daughters, whom he cherishes as his very own children.
This is surely wonderful news, especially for those of us who struggle to feel as if we belong. Yet there is more in verse 5 to cause our hearts to rejoice. Notice the last phrase, which I will italicize for emphasis: “[In love] he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” An even more literal rendering would be, “in accordance with the good pleasure of his will.” The point is that God chose to adopt us as his children because this gave him pleasure. Think of that! God chose to adopt you because he was thrilled by the thought of having you as his beloved son or daughter.
When I read this, I cannot help but remember the happiest day of my boyhood. On March 8, 1961, when I was almost four years old, I experienced one of the greatest thrills of my life. That’s the day my parents adopted my brother, Gary. I had looked forward to this day for months, which is a long, long time for a three-year-old. I was so eager to meet my new brother. Finally, my parents and I drove to the home where my brother-to-be was waiting. We walked down a long hall and into a small room with a crib. Inside of that crib was a three-month-old baby boy. As I peered upon him for the first time, he looked up at me and smiled. Never before had I known such joy! I expect the same was true for my parents.
I’m sure my parents adopted Gary because they wanted to have more than one child. They had more love to give, and they desired a larger family. They did indeed exercise their will in adopting my brother. But they also experienced pleasure beyond anything I could have imagined as a boy. They were thrilled to have Gary as their son.
According to Ephesians, that’s rather like how God feels about you. God adopted you as his son or daughter because the very thought of being in intimate relationship with you thrilled God. You matter to him that much. And more!
Something to Think About:
Do you ever think of God feeling pleasure about having you as his child?
How might this truth impact the way you feel?
How might it affect the way you live?
Something to Do:
Find some quiet moments to reflect on the truth of Ephesians 1:5, that God has adopted you as his child “in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
Gracious God, thank you for the astounding truth of this verse. Thank you for letting us know just how much we mean to you. Thank you for desiring relationship with us, such that the thought of adopting us gave you joy.
Help me, dear Heavenly Father, to live in the reassurance of your joy in me. Help me to rejoice in the fact that you rejoice in me. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Key Verses and Themes in Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.