By Darwin Hayes
Devotional Scripture: Mark 1:11
Central Thought: Knowing God loves and delights in you can carry you through opposition.
God blessed His Son Jesus at the start of His public life. John the Baptist introduced Him, the Holy Spirit came down like a dove and identified Him, and the voice from heaven affirmed Him. His Father's blessing made Jesus able to keep going when opposition came. The Father gave His blessing before Jesus did anything in ministry. He had worked no miracles. He had taught no divine lessons. He had preached no powerful sermons, and He still was three years away from offering His life for the sins of the world.
God recognized Him, expressed His love, and pronounced His pleasure on the basis of who Jesus was, not on His accomplishments. He loved Him simply as His Son. He was pleased with Jesus' attitude, character, and obedient heart. Earthly parents should take note. Bless your children with your words. Tell them you love them! Tell them you are pleased with and proud of them, not just because they excel or win, but because they belong to you. Let them know they are special to God and to you. Teach them that attitude and honest effort matter most. Then everything else will fall into place.
Note the contrast between the Father's blessing and the ideas of others around Jesus. Even family members thought He was 'out of his mind” (Mark 3:21). God said, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). They said, 'You're crazy!” But Jesus chose to act on His Father's blessing. He determined to live out His Father's will, to speak His Father's words, to carry out His Father's works, and to show His Father to the world. You can too. A lot of voices may challenge or pull you away from God's direction, but here is the good news. You can choose to order your life by what God says rather than by what others say, think, or do.
What difference does it make? Jesus showed us. Rejected by His people, betrayed by His friend, abandoned by His disciples, and falsely accused by His enemies, He could have collapsed. Instead, He carried out His Father's plan. He served without feeling threatened because He had nothing to prove. He knew who He was, why He had come, and where He was going. Jesus is God's one-of-a-kind Son by eternal nature, but if you believe in Him, you are a child of God. He loves you, and you bring Him pleasure. Because you know that, you can make it, no matter what.
Devotional Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You love and find pleasure in me. Help me bless others today as Your child.
Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 39:1-40:38; Mark 1:1-28; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 9:11-12