What it Means to be a Child of God

I am so excited to share this blog post with you. It is part of my series on our identity in Christ. Today’s post is written by Cathy McIntosh. She is an author, speaker, and blogger.  Cathy is passionate about helping women nourish their spirits and pursue their calling to follow God. Today, she shares with us what it means to be a child of God.

To learn more about Cathy, read her bio at the end of the blog post, or connect with her on her blog cathymcintosh.com, Instagram, or Facebook.

A picture of a woman sitting on a couch. Beside the picture are the words what does it mean to be a child of God?

All at once, our world shifted. One moment we were living the blessed life, hard at work, and pursuing our comfortable, daily routines.  The next moment we found ourselves in isolation, reading headlines that spur fear and anxiety.

We watch for God to move through this trial. We hope to see His power and might,  but instead, we see very little obvious involvement. As His children, we wonder, “Where is God in all of this?” Our unvoiced concern is “Has He abandoned us?”

In times of trials and crisis, a steadfast knowledge of what it means to be a child of God can be the difference between conquering a fear or succumbing to it.

Knowing what God says about us as His children can secure our faith when it seems the world has gone off-kilter. The problem is, we’re familiar with what the Bible says, but its truth doesn’t always transition from our heads to our hearts. 

Determining our value

Instead of resting in the truth of what God says about us as His children, we assess our personal value based on what we do rather than who we are. Even in our slowed world, it’s hard to be still because we see so much that needs to be done.

  • employers want us to work from home,
  • schools want us to coach our kids through online curriculum,
  • we’re to keep those same kids entertained without the benefit of neighbourhood friends or fun, local destinations
  • the result of panic-buying leaves us to create healthy family meals with missing or unusual ingredients
  • we must keep our homes—and our hands—cleaner than ever to avoid illness
  • we long to offer help to those in need

In many ways, it feels too much to bear. How we know we should feel is drastically different from our raw emotions.

We easily identify with the Apostle Paul when he declared in

Romans 7:15 (CSB), “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” 

We hate feeling fearful and the idea of working to earn God’s favour. Yet that’s just where our thoughts and our emotions land.

We want to walk in unshakeable faith, but our anxiety and rampant emotions get in the way.

In an attempt to mask it all, we’re tempted to press into our to-do list instead of pressing into God.  It’s as if we need to prove our worth to help fend off anxiety. Somewhere deep inside we believe if we can accomplish good tasks, it may pull our attention from all the things we know we shouldn’t do. Like worrying and fretting.

It’s imperative to remember who we are in Christ. You can read more about the benefits here.

The struggle to embrace what it means to be a child of God

During a time in my professional life, I worked in a very small office. Our team brought in a new, part-time employee who was highly qualified and a good fit for our team. There was much I liked and appreciated about him, including his commitment to Christ.

Because of my position, I was privy to his employment package. Although he worked part-time, his hourly rate of pay was far more than my own.

His skill set was fairly technical, so I could see the justification in pay. Mostly. What really got under my skin was the benefits package he received. From his hire date, he received 3 weeks of paid vacation per year. After 7 years of employment with the company, I had just recently reached the benefit of 3 weeks of vacation.

As much as I tried to stuff my emotions, I was really struggling. I knew how unprofessional my emotions were. I knew that I had accepted what I was offered when I started my employment and that my employer had fulfilled every promise made to me.

There’s a story about this in Matthew 20:1-16. A landowner hired workers for his vineyard, paying those he hired in the afternoon as much as those who’d worked all day. He asked the disgruntled workers, “Are you jealous because I acted with generosity?” 

I felt that same question stir my spirit and my answer was YES! Yes I was jealous!!

It’s my nature to obsess over situations and this was no exception. I began wrestling with God about my own pride and the truth of His Word. How I knew I should be feeling was drastically different from how I was feeling.

When this man was hired, I felt completely undervalued and taken for granted. It was like my employer had just poured gasoline on a buried piece of hot coal that neither he nor I realized existed. For something so simple to bother me so deeply, I knew I obviously faced a much bigger problem.

Turning to God for help

I’ve learned something very helpful. If I want to identify what triggers certain attitudes and behaviours in my life, I do something radical. I ask God. Straight out.

So I asked the Lord why I was so wrapped around the axel over this situation. In time, he revealed a battle I’ve fought for ages: the temptation to estimate my own personal value.

As I asked God to reveal the problem, He stirred memories in my heart. I could finally see that I learned to believe that my value is derived from things I produce, my grades, my success, my pay.

While the battle hadn’t raged to this degree before, God helped me see that it wasn’t a new problem. I struggled with personal value many times before.

It was prompted by things like

  • The schoolmate who stopped being friendly when I started covering my paper during a test
  • Struggles with a college organic chemistry class when I couldn’t earn an A
  • Below-market pay for jobs where I pour out my energy and talents
  • An awkwardly absent “thank you” at the completion of a big project
  • An overall sense that some appreciate what I do more than who I am

That flare-up seemed far worse than normal. It felt much harder, lasting far longer than I believed it should.

For some reason, I struggled to grab hold of the truth long enough to walk in it. Just when I’d think I started to grab hold, it all slipped through my fingers.

Then God reminded me of another powerful truth: I am created in His image (see Genesis 1:27). Thinking negatively about myself meant I was thinking unfavourably about what God has created in His own image.  He showed me the incredible power of thoughts.

The power of thoughts

Yes, thoughts are powerful.

What we believe about ourselves is powerful. Declarations are powerful. Negative self-talk is powerful.

So it’s time to change the way we think, believe, and ultimately behave as it comes to our personal value.

You and I are beloved children of God. He tells us so in His Word and now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we embrace that truth.

I believe as women we all need to hear that we are enough, even before we accomplish a single thing. We need the reminder, especially in times like these, that God sees us and He knows us by name. His love for us never falters, regardless of how we feel or the number of new experiences we don’t accomplish perfectly.

When I wonder who I am, the Holy Spirit reminds me to Whom I belong. I am a child of God and I am His. And so are you. Consider what God’s Word says about what it means to be a child of God.

Scripture about Our Identity in Christ

Isaiah 49:16 Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”

Romans 8:4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ;

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favoured us with in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:11 In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will,

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. walk as children of light-

Philippians 1:6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. 

Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Declaring what it means to be a child of God

In my own struggle, I needed to do more than reviewing or even memorizing these verses. I needed to declare their truth over my life.

I created notecards with bold declarations from the Word of God that I could speak aloud and remind myself what it means to be a child of God.

Would you like to have the notecards for your own use? Click here and I’ll gladly share this gift with you by email. They are a proven and valuable resource in my own walk with Christ and I trust they’ll bless you and your thought life, especially during uncertain times like these.  Because you, dear one, are a child of God—loved, known and fully seen. Walk in that truth today, regardless of current situations and trials.

In the comments below, share your thoughts on what it means to be a child of God.

What it Means to be a Child of God

2 responses to “What it Means to be a Child of God”

  1. Donna Miller Avatar

    Oh wow Anne! God is having you focus on our Identity in Christ too! Love this! Beautifully written Cathy! For me, my identity in Christ means my life is completely hidden in Christ and the enemy can never take that away from me! ❤

    1. Anne Markey Avatar
      Anne Markey

      I love that. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.