Becoming an adoptive father helps me understand that I didn’t pursue God. He pursued me. In fact, He began that pursuit of me, and you, before the foundation of the world.
David Platt, pastor and author of several books including Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, talks about how he and his wife “pursued” their adopted son. Check it out in this short video:
Whew. If you actually took the time to watch that video and you are like me, you have some chill bumps.
It’s important to understand that God doesn’t pursue just certain people. Like David Platt, I can’t explain how God knows beforehand who will respond favorably to His pursuit. But I believe that God pursues everyone.
The difference is in how we respond to His pursuit.
I see many parallels between a family adopting a child and God adopting us. We respond to God in many of the same ways an adopted child responds to an adoptive family.
Some children reject their adopted family. These children often come from abuse, neglect or abandonment. This causes the child to push everyone away including those who want to love and care for them.
Many of us respond to God the same way. I have heard many speak of not trusting God because of an abusive relationship with their earthly father.
Where rejection is pushing away, rebellion is acting out. Anger and violence. A child from a hurt place often rebels against parental figures.
Know anyone who is angry with God? What does their life look like?
Because adopted children often move around a lot and have multiple care-takers, they view even their forever family as not so forever. Children with this background struggle with proper bonding.
Jesus tells a story or parable about temporary nature of some people’s response to Him.
On the surface obedience looks like a good thing. And it is. However, obedience can be motivated by fear, passive-aggression or obligation. When this happens, authentic relationship doesn’t happen.
I see this as the most common response among nominal Christians. At some level, they follow the rules. For most, the relationship with God is based on performance to gain acceptance.
This might sound strange, but this is the desired response. It reflects a pure, devoted response. A child that is adopted sacrifices or gives up their fear and anger embracing and trusting their new family.
It also reflects the love God has for us back to Him. He made the ultimate sacrifice in His pursuit of us.
When we respond with a complete sacrifice of ourselves, we reflect the nature of God.
What has been your response to God?
If your answer is that you don’t acknowledge that God exists…well…that is your response.
If you call yourself a Christ follower, have you sacrificed your life to follow Him in the way Jesus sacrificed His all to pursue you?