The following is copied with permission from the August 2021 “From the Pastor” section of the Zion Lutheran Church Newsletter.
Who are You?
This month many of you will be starting school again, and one of the first things you are asked in a new classroom, whether in Kindergarten or High School, is what is your name? Who are you? A lot of people will associate who you are by your surname. Your family may have been here for decades or many generations. Another way that you might be known is where you live, on a family farm, or a certain street. What if you were as well-known in another way? What if the way you spoke, the way you dressed and appeared, made someone else aware that you are also known by a different name, that you have taken upon you the name of Christ, and that you are His, just as much as you belong to your family. You are a child of God, through Christ, through holy baptism, and you have taken upon you His name and His attributes.
1 John 3:13
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
What we learn from this is that being like Christ, and a child of God, is not something anyone can earn, it is a gift of God. Jesus himself has said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” Matthew 5:48. As we speak of perfection, there is much to consider. One must be the soul of honor, full of integrity, above reproach, yet also humble. We are to be perfect even as He is perfect. This is a promise of what we can be eventually, it is a goal to reach for that we will not be able to reach until we are perfected in Him, when He appears again.
Take one of the suggested themes and Scriptures below and study it tougher as a family, I recommend reading and talking about one every night. It will take about ten minutes. You do not have to be a master theologian to be able to talk to your family about spiritual things and to read together in the Bible. It will bring the Holy Spirit into your home! The Spirit brings with it many spiritual gifts that will help purify you and make your family more peaceful and loving. Let’s Learn our ABCs! For extra fun, come up with your own ABC list of attributes of being a child of God.
- A is for Atonement, Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:15
- B is for Baptism, 1 Peter 3:21, Colossians 2:12
- C is for Commandments, John 14:21, Mark 7:8 and Contentment, 1 Timothy 6:6-9, Philippians 4:11
- D is for Dedicated, 2 Corinthians 8:22, John 17:19
- E is for Eternal Life, John 6:54, John 17:3
- F is for Faith, Hebrews 11:1, James 2:18
- G is for Gratitude, James 1:17, 2 Timothy 3:2
- H is for Hope, Romans 12:12, Romans 15:13 and Hulimilty, 1 Peter 5:5-6, Philippians 2:3
- I is for Integrity, Titus 2:7, 2 Timothy 2:22
- J is for Joy, John 15:11, Acts 13:52
- K is for Kindness, Ephesians 4:32, 2 Corinthians 6:6
- L is for Love, Hebrews 10:24, 1 John 4:10 and Light, 1 Peter 2:9, Luke 11:36
- M is for Mercy, Numbers 14:18, Exodus 34:6-7
- N is for Nourishing, Genesis 50:21, Ephesians 6:4
- O is for Obedience, Exodus 19:6-8, Hebrews 5:8
- P is for Patience, Hebrews 12:1, James 5:10 and Peace, Hebrews 12:14, James 3:18
- Q is for Quiet, 1 Peter 3:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Psalm 46:10
- R is for Redemption, Ephesians 1:7, Romans 3:24, and Rest, Hebrews 4:1, Matthew 11:28
- S is for Sacred, 2 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Timothy 1:9 and Salvation, Revelation 7:10, Acts 4:12
- T is for Trust, Proverbs 3:5-6, 2 Corinthians 3:4
- U is for Unity, 1 Peter 3:8, Romans 15:5
- V is for Virtue, 2 Peter 1:5, Philippians 4:8
- W is for Worthy, Matthew 10:37-38, Luke 15:19
- X is for E(x)ample, John 13:14-15, Titus 2:7
- Y is for Yearning, Romans 8:26, 1 Thessalonians 2:8
- Z is for Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, Revelation 21:6, Revelation 1:11
Let me conclude this letter with a passage from 1 Timothy 4:12-16 where Paul speaks directly to people of your age, to encourage you in your discipleship. Although Timothy was a young pastor, nevertheless many aspects of this passage can apply to all believers.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
May His words give you courage in doing what is right every day, wherever you may be, and whoever you are with, this is my prayer for you all!
Pastor Hinckley and family