DON'T DESPISE YOUR BIRTHRIGHT
M. J. Jacob
A few days ago during my morning devotion I came across the verse, "So Esau despised his birthright" (Gen.25:34). I was finding fault with Esau. At the same time I knew this was a fitting verse for self-examination. God created man in His own image. His intention was that man and woman should live like God's children with the resemblance of godly character. It is our birthright to reflect family resemblance in our lives. Dictionary renders the meaning of birthright thus: the right, privilege or possession to which a person is entitled by birth. When God created man, He gave him his birthright to live as God's child. I believe this is the birthright, the privilege and precious possession God has given us to live as God's children. God has not given this birthright to any other creation. It is reserved only for men and women.
Andrew Murray asks: "Why has God created and redeemed you?" So that through you as through the sun He lightens the world unceasingly every day, His light and life and love can shine out upon men. Before creating man, God said: "Let us make man in our image and likeness" (Gen.1:26). How glorious these words are! The reason God breathed His own life into man was to reproduce in man, on earth, a perfect likeness to Him in heaven. In Christ we saw that image of God in human form. We have been predestined, redeemed, called and are being taught and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, to be conformed to the image of the Son. We are to be imitators of God, to walk even as Christ walked.
Someone has well said, "If you are a child of God, you should have a family resemblance. A look at the present scenario of the Christian world will reveal that many Christians live unmindful of their birthright. We are like Esau who said, "What good is the birthright to me?" (v.32). God the Father wants His children to claim this birthright and live as responsible children. Our Lord in His teaching was very specific on this subject. "Ö. that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven" (Matt.5:45). "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (v.48). "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (v.16).
Radiating God's glory
If we are mindful of our birthright and live as members of God's family, we will become radiant Christians. Others will take note that we are God's children. The world will see something different, something special in our lives. Without our knowledge we will be radiating the glory of God all around. R. A. Torrey has said, "I presume everybody has known saints whose lives were just radiant. Joy beamed out of their eyes; joy bubbled over their lips; joy seemed to fairly run from their fingertips. You could not come in contact with them without having a new light come into your own life. They were the electric batteries charged with joy."
God's treasured possession
During the exodus of Israelites, God revealed Himself to them in a mighty way at Mount Sinai. God told Moses to tell the house of Jacob that they are His treasured possession. "Now if you obey me fully and keep My commandment, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession" (Exo.19:5). When we claim our birthright to become like God's children we will realise that we are the treasured possession of God. What a great privilege it is! Just think of the many saints of God who claimed their birthright and were able to impact the world by their God-like lives. They could show the world they were God's own children.
Mrs. Charles Cowman has said about Philip Brooks: "He was the soul of saintliness - saintliness with red blood. To see him walk along a Boston street made the day, if it was dark and gloomy, bright and sunny. A man in Boston who was caught in a sudden storm took refuge in the door-way of Brook's house. Afterwards the man said, 'The day was brighter because of the man who shared the doorway with me.' Philip Brooks just opened the doors of his home during the storm. That was enough for the man caught in the storm. No deal was done. Brooks just was a Christian and that was enough to let the light of Christ shine through him into another life."
When we claim our birthright, others will take note that we are members of God's family. It was a very cold day. As the newspaper boy gave the morning paper to the man of the house, the man asked the boy, "Are you cold this morning?" The boy replied, "I was, sir, before I met you." Just imagine what an impact we can make on the non-Christian world when we claim our birthright and live reflecting the glory of God in our lives. Very often we are satisfied with our Christian life. We take pride in our ministries and services to the Lord. We have to confess there is lack of a deeper longing to lead Christ-like lives. If we have disclaimed our birthright, if we have defamed our family, we need to turn to Christ for help in living like He lived.
God will ask us some questions when we go to heaven. I think, one question will be, "I gave you your birthright to live God-like life. Did you claim this birthright?" What would our answer be?
I have one deep supreme desire
That I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
That I may be like Jesus. -Chisholm