Nehemiah 10-11
Acts 4:1-22

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Jesus’s baptism was a significant moment. Up until that point, Jesus grew up like any Jewish boy and had not performed any miracles. But the moment Jesus got out of the water at His baptism, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and alighted on Him. Then, a voice from heaven could be heard: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). This is the first time that we get to overhear the Father speaking to the Son. The first thing that the Father affirms in Jesus is His identity—“This is My Son.” The Father heart of God seeks to affirm Jesus’s identity as His Son, reminding Him not only of who He is but also whose He is. There is something powerful about affirming identity, especially when it is coming from the mouth of a parent.
I (Hartley Russell) have a friend who, growing up, did not have a great relationship with his dad. While his dad was still an incredible father, he was a bit rougher around the edges and distant emotionally. One time, my friend was at church and his dad was amongst his friends. His dad called him over and said, “Hey everyone, this is my son!” For most of us, this may seem like an embarrassing situation, but for my friend, who was in his early 20s during that time, it was a significant moment. Up until that point in his life, he could not recall another time in which his father identified him as his son amongst his peers—that moment gave my friend so much value. It seemed almost for the first time in his life that his dad was actually proud of the fact that he was his boy, his son.
Speaking words of identity are so significant. As a parent, are we affirming the identity of our children? If we do not, they will find their identity elsewhere. Our young people are being told by the media and culture that if they do not dress a certain way, act a certain way, look a certain way or talk a certain way, then they are not valuable, not worth it. When we affirm our children and their identity in Christ, we are not only reminding them where their true identity lies, but also countering what the culture tells our children to be.
But more than affirming our children, may we all hear the Father heart of God speaking over our identity in Him—“This is My son. This is My daughter.”
Dear Father God, what a blessing to know that I am Your beloved child. Thank You that my identity is found in You. Amen!

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