I was born the youngest in my family, yet I don't feel like I was left out of anything in my family. In fact, while many things were experienced by my older brother and sister before me, there have been some things that I got to experience first. In American culture today, birth order doesn't dictate our future or what opportunities lay before us. There are other sub-cultures in America that would find birth order very important; however, it is not the underlying culture. It is interesting that I am thinking about such things as it is Independence Day, which is the United States of America's celebration of freedom. But while we humans have an idea of what it is like to live in freedom, God has His own idea of what freedom means. So, while we in the USA express our freedom with our human eyes, let's take a look and consider the freedom God has in mind. Please read Genesis 25:24-34.
Yesterday, I looked at how God told Rebekah she was pregnant with twins - two nations. She was also told that the older would serve the younger. Today, we read how that played out. Esau was the older of the two because he came out first. But, they were twins and we see that Jacob came out holding Esau's heel. The story fast forwards to them probably as adults. Esau came home from hunting feeling very hungry and Jacob refused to give him a bite to eat until Esau swore his birthright over to Jacob. This is an important thing to consider because the birthright was everything in this culture. The birthright meant that the oldest would own everything that belonged to the father when the father died. But Esau gave that up for a bowl of stew.
Now, I want to take this into our world; our lives for a moment. There are some references in the New Testament that Jesus is God's firstborn. I want to look at Romans 8:28-30 (NIV), "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, he also glorified." Jesus has the birthright because He is the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (the church), yet He chose to die for us so that we could share in the eternal life. Romans 8:32 says, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?"
We have been given a birthright of adoption into the family of God because Christ died for us. He died to share life with us. I would encourage you to read through all of Romans 8 with the idea that Christ is the firstborn and see how it challenges you. Romans 8: 16-17 (NIV) says, "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory." My point is, we are told in the end of Genesis 25 that Esau despised his birthright. We see in Romans 8 that we have been given the birthright to be co-heirs with Christ. But do we easily set that aside in order to satisfy our human cravings rather than our Spirit-filled cravings for God? When we reach to satisfy our human cravings, we are despising our birthright as children of God. That really hurts to think about, and trust me it is not easy to type out because I wonder how many times I have satisfied the human desires over the Spirit's yearning. But I don't want to despise my birthright, I want to claim the freedom that comes from this birthright! I want to live Spirit-minded and follow His direction rather than my human desires.
Do you claim the freedom you have received in Christ, or do you satisfy the human nature?
This post is linked with Word Filled Wednesday.