Defined by the Deep Love of a Father



“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God decending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’ ” 

Matthew 3:16-17 

Whether we realize it or not, there are for all of us moments, events, or themes in our lives that have deeply shaped how we see ourselves. Not to get all Dr. Phil on you guys but I believe that our identity is often shaped not by our own design, but by words that were said and things that were done by others. In fact, in most cases we tend to do what we do because of who we believe we are. I had a wise friend and teacher once tell me, “You are what you believe” and this has continued to ring true in both my life and in the lives of those around me.  Therefore, speaking to my brothers and sisters…. as believers in Jesus Christ it is often times easy to replace Jesus with “religion” and/or traditions and rituals that are about him but not with him. I know that there is a radical transformation that needs to take place in my own heart, soul and mind in order to truly “believe in the true Jesus”. Understanding Jesus for who he is is central to understanding who we are. Afterall, if our identity is found in Christ we must first understand his identity. In order to do this we have to let go of all of our preconcieved notions about Jesus. You can’t take Jesus for who you want him to be, you must take him for who he is. There is no greater place to look for this kind of knowledge then in the pages of Scripture…. the gospel often times being a great place to begin! Going back to my earlier thoughts…. the statement,”you are what you believe,” can be trusted as truth for the reason that it’s evidence can even be found in Jesus’ own life and ministry. One significant moment that defined his identity occured through his baptism in Matthew 3:13-17.In order to more fully understand this significant event it is important that we touch a few background details involving Jesus Christ. Reviewing some of the Biblically based truths about Jesus, we can know that Jesus was both fully God and fully Human. Jesus spent the first thirty years of his life in obscurity. He lived in Nazareth, was a working carpenter and studying to be a Rhabbi. Jesus steps out into public ministry when he is about 30 years old. Jesus begins his journey by walking 15 miles east to the Jordan River in the middle of the desert….. he is going there for a very specific purpose: to be baptized by his cousin John the Baptist. The Scriptures tell us that John’s ministry was about calling people to repentance. So did Jesus really need to be baptized by John? Yes. Although he was without sin and had nothing to repent of this is just another example of God’s commitment to enter into a relationship with us…. his willingness to dive into the thick of our humanity. It is a revelation of how great God’s love is for you and for me.When Jesus was baptized and came up out of the water the Holy Spirit decended in the form of a dove and God spoke from heaven a message of love. In this moment when Jesus entered a valley of sinners and asked to be baptized, God revealed to all who were near that Jesus was His son, and He loved him. These words not only defined who Jesus was… but whose he was. From that moment on Jesus did what he did because he knew who he was: ONE LOVED BY GOD. As we look to the gospels we see that everything Jesus did was a reflection of the truth spoken by God at his baptism. Because of what he belived…. it affected everything he did. Jesus Christ trusted in God’s deep love for him so much that he went to the cross and the grave for all of humanity!(JUST A SIDE NOTE: In the temptation of Christ it can be seen that this was the very truth that Satan attempted to undermind in every single one of his temptations. This must be a powerful truth!)What might change in your life if you believed what Jesus knew…. that you are deeply loved by God? Could it be that who you are is defined by who loves you? And since God loves you unconditionally, might that change the things you do? Would that change how you see yourself? How you treat others? What would your life look like if you truly accepted that you were loved by God? Perhaps some of the things we have settled for and some of the beliefs we have about who we are and ultimately who God is need to be destroyed and replaced by this transforming truth: We are deeply loved by God. Brennan Manning once said, “Define yourself as one radically loved by God. His love for you and acceptance of you constitutes your worth.” This is SO true!Just to bring it home one final time, Jesus’ knowledge that he was deeply loved and accepted by God was reflected all throughout his ministry….. even unto the cross and to the grave. It is through Jesus’ life and perfect sacrifice for our sin that God has shown His deep love for us (John 3:16). May our hearts, souls and minds be open to recieve it each day and by the help of the Holy Spirit may we continue to see it for what it truly is and learn how to live out it’s rewards to God’s glory each and every moment of the lives we’ve been given.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us 

Stuart Townend

How deep the Father’s love for usHow vast beyond all measureThat He would give His only SonTo make a wretch His treasure  

How great the pain of searing lossThe Father turns His face awayAs wounds which mar the chosen OneBring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a crossMy guilt upon His shouldersAshamed, I hear my mocking voiceCall out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him thereUntil it was accomplishedHis dying breath has brought me lifeI know that it is finished

I will not boast in anythingNo gifts, no powr’s, no wisdomBut I will boast in Jesus ChristHis death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?I cannot give an answerBut this I know with all my heartHis wounds have paid my ransom


3 thoughts on “Defined by the Deep Love of a Father

  1. Hope all is well with you in Honduras!!! I love and miss you very much. We are so proud of you and are praying for you at all times.
    Love you

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