For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

What a powerfully comforting verse!  I have seen it on placards held up at football games, heard it quoted by young children and even displayed on billboards.  John 3:16 is the most quoted verse in the Bible.

So this verse tells us what our Father has done for us but what have we been asked to do?  It is fair to say that it is our human nature to settle into the receiving side of a relationship.  We do in our marriages, with our brothers, sisters, parents, our friends and just about everyone except perhaps with our children.

When it comes to being a parent, normally then we are on the giving side.  Isn’t it such a blessing when our children reciprocate and start giving back to the relationship?   My husband and I still have the little gifts our boys gave to us when they were young:  everything from an angel made out of a toilet paper roll; the memory of our four-year old taking up for me in the grocery store when he thought someone was inappropriate; a Hot Wheels ramp made from a wooden shingle; a heartfelt thank you note when they left home for college, the list goes on and on.

As Christ-followers, we need to mature and start giving ourselves back to our Father.  This next verse tells us what is expected of us:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:24

The path of Christ is not an easy road.  It requires us to step outside of our comfort zone and not just every once in awhile but daily.  Jesus has even given us a handbook that tells us what we are to do:  forgive one another; visit orphan and widows in their affliction; whatever causes you to sin, get rid of it; judge not; be merciful; treat others as you would like to be treated; this list goes on as well.

Choosing to follow Christ is not like joining a club, it is being adopted into a family.  It’s a decision to follow after Christ’s example.  Today Christianity seems to be shunned not because of who Jesus is but because who we are.  Let’s give back to our relationship with our Father and search out what He has called us to do.  As we profess to know God, I pray we don’t deny Him by our works.

Cindy Wall