Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come from many different backgrounds, but they believe that all mankind share something in common: every one of us is a child of God. So, what does it mean to be a child of God, and why is that important? Well, here are some reasons I believe it’s important for you to know you’re a child of God.
1. It’ll Increase Your Self-Worth
In the Book of Moses, Moses is transfigured so that he can talk face to face with God. During this discourse, God claims Moses as his own son several times (see Moses 1:4-7). Then, hours after God withdraws himself, Satan comes to Moses and immediately downplays his divine heritage, calling Moses “son of man” (Moses 1:12). But Moses’s reply is powerful. He says, “Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God” (Moses 1:13).
Because Moses remembered who he is—a literal spirit child of God—he was able to overcome the temptations of Satan. Satan often tries to downplay our divine heritage. He wants us to feel worthless. He wants us to compare ourselves to others so that we fail to see ourselves as God sees us. Consider these uplifting words from Boyd K. Packer:
You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!
If we know that we are children of God, our self-worth consequently increases, for what can be more precious than a literal son or daughter of God? When we see ourselves through God’s eyes, we are more likely to combat shame and low self-esteem because we know our divine worth.
2. You will Treat Others with More Respect
There was once a girl who was in high school. Like many other teenagers, the girl felt insecure about herself. She stepped into a car with her brother after school so they could drive home. As they pulled out of the high school parking lot, the girl saw one of her classmates. The girl had heard other members of her class talk badly of this classmate, and she felt a sudden need to join in. She quickly said without thinking, “Look at her. She’s fat and unattractive.” The girl’s brother rebuked her, saying, “Everyone’s beautiful in their own way. Everyone is a child of God.”
Now, I believe all of us have had experience’s similar to that of this girl. Whenever you feel tempted to belittle, ridicule, bully, or treat another human being disrespectfully, remember the words of her brother: “Everyone is a child of God.”
Lori L. Wadsworth believes that knowledge of our divine worth is key to treating others in a Christ-like way. She taught, “If knowing that we are children of God changes the way we think and behave, how important it must be for us to acknowledge the divinity of others—these ‘fellowcitizens’—all around the world. I believe it will change the way we view and interact with them.”
As we understand our own worth, we, in turn, can see everyone else’s worth. Treating others with respect is one of the natural consequences of seeing others through the eyes of God.
3. You will Have a More Enriched Perspective as a Parent
Whenever my wife and I talk about our children, we like to talk about what an honor it is to be their parents. We like to remind ourselves that it is an honor to parent because that means God is entrusting one of his precious children in our care. When we see our children as children of God, we gain an enriched perspective on their eternal worth. We learn to not only see them through our loving eyes, but through the loving eyes of God.
To illustrate this point, I’d like to share an excerpt from a talk given by President Henry B. Eyring titled “My Peace I Leave with You:”
I remember once a seven- or eight-year-old son of ours jumping on his bed hard enough that I thought it might break. I felt a flash of frustration, and I moved quickly to set my house in order. I grabbed my son by his little shoulders and lifted him up to where our eyes met.
The Spirit put words into my mind. It seemed a quiet voice, but it pierced to my heart: “You are holding a great person.” I gently set him back on the bed and apologized.
Now he has become the great man the Holy Ghost let me see 40 years ago. I am eternally grateful that the Lord rescued me from my unkind feelings by sending the Holy Ghost to let me see a child of God as He saw him.
Because President Eyring was able to see his son through the eyes of God, he was able to assuage his frustration. When you see yourself as a child of God, and you feel the overwhelming love a parent has for his child, you get a glimpse of the love Heavenly Father has for each of His children.
As parents, we are sure to make many mistakes, but if we know that we are children of God and we see our children as children of God, we can develop an enhanced perspective of our important parental roles.
4. It will make You Stronger in Overcoming Life’s Challenges
Life is hard. Life is also unfair. There’s no getting around those two facts of life. My wife and I were discussing how hard and unfair life is when she mentioned a story she had heard of a young mother named Carol Decker who had lost her sight and all her limbs but one after contracting sepsis during childbirth.
There are so many incredibly difficult challenges that so many deal with every day. Some of these challenges, like abuse, abandonment, and racism, are inflicted by other people; others, like addiction, are self-inflicted. But sometimes it seems like God himself is sending down a whirlwind of difficulties our way.
What happened to Carol Decker was unfair and completely changed her life. Yet, Decker’s challenge helped strengthen her faith in God.
So, when it seems like God is making life difficult for us—or allowing others to make life difficult for us—how do we, like Decker, keep ourselves from being angry with God and how do we find the strength to keep going? And how can our knowledge of being children of God help strengthen us and improve our relationship with God during these times?
Let me tell you a story told by Loren C. Dunn. Dunn grew up in a small community. His father ran the local newspaper, but his father wanted his children to learn and grow through work. So, Dunn’s father put him and his brother on the small farm to work. This experience was doubtless extremely difficult for the two brothers, and they surely made many mistakes. Some members of the community expressed their concerns to the father, pointing out all the mistakes his sons were making. The father’s reply was, “You see, I’m raising boys, not cows.” For Dunn’s father, the farm was nothing compared to the development of his sons.
Sometimes we might feel a little like Job, but if we can see ourselves as children of God, we can gain the strength to overcome our trials. We recognize that God often places challenges in our way to help us become stronger. Much like in weightlifting, we can only build more spiritual muscle mass if we first break our muscles down.
Often, our trials help us support other children of God who are going through something similar. If we can see ourselves as children of God we ask ourselves “Now what?” instead of “Why me?” We use our challenging experiences to assist the Lord’s work because we know our great worth.
5. Your Desire to Follow Jesus Christ will Increase
I’ve had an enlightening experience recently in my home. I have a four-year-old daughter named Edith. To Edith, the concept that she will one day grow up and be an adult like her mother and father is fairly new. This one experience we had in our home, however, seemed to make this concept click for her.
I live with my family in a small duplex. Every six months our landlord asks us to switch out the air filter. To switch out the air filter, I need to go down into our duplex’s crawl space. Access to this crawl space happens to be in the closet of Edith’s bedroom.
Well, Edith thought it was pretty neat that there was suddenly a hole in her bedroom. She also thought it was neat that I got to go down into this hole. She kept begging my wife (who was holding her back) to go down into the crawlspace with me. My wife replied, “Edith, you’re not big enough. You need to grow bigger and bigger like daddy and then you can go down with him.”
Edith thought this was a pretty cool idea. For the rest of the week, she tried to do more grown-up like things, all the while saying, “Look, I’m growing bigger and bigger like daddy!” Suddenly, eating her vegetables and going to the bathroom in the toilet became easier for her. She wanted to be like her parents so her desire to follow our example increased.
So, if Edith, who is barely four, can increase her desire to follow her parents’ example just by understanding who she is, how much more can we gain a desire to follow our Savior’s example when we understand who we are? If we know that we are divine spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we are less likely to sell ourselves short. We are more likely to follow Jesus Christ, who showed us how to live a Godly life.
How about you? Can you think of any more ways seeing yourself as a child of God will benefit your life? Let us know in the comments below.