How did you feel when your father praised you? It’s like a proud father boasting to his friends about his child. “That’s my boy playing soccer!” “That’s my girl dancing on the stage!” Maybe your father never praised you much (especially in Asian cultures). Maybe your father was absent. Whatever the case, I want you to glimpse and experience God the Father’s love for you. We take a look at Jesus’ baptism.
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
After Jesus’ baptism, God the Father said a powerful phrase to him in the sight of all: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Think about it. Jesus hadn’t started ministry yet. He hadn’t done a miracle yet. He was busy in the carpenter’s workshop and taking care of the family as the eldest son. Why did God the Father say, “I am well pleased”?
This tells us that God’s pleasure with us is not dependent what we have done! Some of us are driven to perfectionism, success and fame in order to gain our father’s approval. We believe, “If only I make it big in the business world/school/church then my father will be pleased with me.” But some fathers are never pleased no matter how much we accomplish. God the Father is different. He is already pleased with you right now. Even if you have done nothing of significance. You can stop striving to gain God’s approval and start enjoying His smile over your life. God rejoices over you with love (Zeph 3:17).
God loves you. He called Jesus “my beloved son.” If you have accepted Jesus as your saviour, you have become a son and daughter of God. You have been adopted into God’s family, gaining all the inheritance and blessings as His child. God loves you no matter how badly you have messed up your life. He wants you to return to him. He wants to hold you in His loving arms. Just like in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father is waiting eagerly for you to repent and come home (Luke 15).
When you find your security in the arms of God, you fear nothing else in life. Your approval doesn’t come from others. It comes from the Father. Your worth isn’t derived from how others label you. It comes from the Father. And you know that He truly loves you. He gave his son Jesus to die for your sins so that by believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection, our relationship can be restored. What amazing love! No wonder John the apostle exclaimed in amazement:
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.
1 John 2:1a (The Message)
God is well-pleased with you as His child. You don’t need to work to gain His love and approval. He already loves you. We work as a response to God’s lavish love for us. Many in churches still try to gain God’s love by keeping the rules, attending services and serving in many ministries. Deep down, they still don’t think God loves them as they are. I want to assure you: God loves you as you are. Keep reminding yourselves of this truths today. Hear the Father saying to you, “You are my beloved child. With you I am well-pleased.”