Brothers and sisters,we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a spirit of adoption,
through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.
My wife, Mariann, was adopted. She has never experienced a desire to meet a birth parent, although several years ago she sought out some information about them to hopefully inform her about possible health issues. She and her brother, Joey, have always felt their adoptive parents were the only parents they would never need. They were loved and cherished by the two people who chose to take them into their home and call them “our own.” The reality is they were truly chosen and that is a wonderful reality for anyone.
Those who live in Christ have been chosen as well. We are heirs of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. Have you ever spent time contemplating that and trying to grasp what it means?
We say that claiming the name of Christian means we “put on Christ,” that we no longer go forth into the world, but Christ in us. And as adopted sons and daughters of God we truly are just like Christ. In the true spirit of adoption, when God looks at us He does not differentiate between His only begotten and those adopted. He only sees His children and He loves them all. Wow!
I go around the country speaking and trying to convince people that they are gifted and created special by virtue of bearing the image of God. Today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans really hits home that message. If I were to be adopted into a royal family, I would be treated like the prince and princesses already born into royalty. This is just one role we then play as priest, prophet, and king by virtue of our baptism and this adoption. So not only can we see ourselves as royal, but we must treat each other with an honor and respect that give evidence to that reality.
Of course, with this gift comes a shared suffering. A real family unit suffers together. And we not only will at times be called to suffer because of our adoption, but we must die and rise with our brother, Jesus. However, the family inheritance, eternal life with the Father, is well worth the cost.
So today, as you go about your day at work, taking care of the kids, or whatever you are called to do this day, do not waste your time daydreaming of about being a prince or princess in a far off land. You are a child of a King right here and now.