This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
Call Him Father.
One of Jesus’ main revelations that he revealed to people was that God was Father. That God was not just powerful and distant, but close and intimate. That you could begin talking to him not just as “Lord”, but with “my Father in heaven.”
However, when I was younger in faith, one of the ways that I interacted with God was feeling conviction.
It’s an awesome thing. The Bible exalts conviction–it lets us know the Holy Spirit lives in us as he differentiates right from wrong. It’s the feeling or tug of God when you ought to be doing something. And it’s the heavy weight on our soul when we see something deeply wrong.
Depending on our denominational upbringing, it can be easy to define most of our Christian lives around conviction.
If the primary way we draw close to God is when we feel convicted about sin, then God is merely a coach, a disciplinarian, a corrector, and a lover of truth. He is those things..but he is much more than those things.
And here we are back in Matthew, when God announces over Jesus that “I am well pleased“.
Jesus lived from the pleasure of God, not just the conviction of God.
It’s a Christian experience where we move from living for the love of God to living from the love of God. God was pleased with Jesus before he did anything. It’s how Abba sees us.
He is deeply delighted in who we are before we do or don’t do anything. It is the power of the Father’s love that truly sets us free. And it is this dynamic that I believe Jesus wanted to demonstrate to the world.
To a world, in his day, and still in ours, desperate for someone to tell us who we are, fighting for significance, survival, and contribution, Jesus has the dawning revelation that those things we desperately seek, we have already in our Abba.
It is good to live from conviction, better to live from pleasure. Good to live by principles, better to live by the voice of God’s pleasure.
Lord, deliver us from the religiousness of working for your love. Help us to remember that you are our Abba, the Father we’ve always wanted, and the Father who delights in his children.