The Map of Sonship • Challenge 2
The Map of Sonship
It started in the garden when the Father said Let us Make them in our image. • We receive our treasure at the beginning of the journey. • Jesus gives us the provisions for the journey. • We get to travel light. • And the map always leads to Jesus. He is the beginning and the end.
Discover the Treasure!
“Sonship is God’s Heart for every Man and Women!”
When it comes right down to it, The very heart of God is that we all would enjoy the power and authority that comes through Sonship. We will talk at great length about what it means to enjoy Sonship as we move down the path and importance of pursuing God’s heart along with His heart for us. First lets take a look at how Paul the Apostle shows us the heart of a father when He writes to the Ephesians and describes the heart of God for us along with the framework that our hearts were made to enjoy!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Paul doesn’t mess around when it comes to revealing the treasure. It is as if he wanted us to know that the heart of our Father was to give us the treasure first so that we could enjoy the journey while in Sonship. So He proclaims that all of this treasure is found in one place, rather one person, Christ.
Paul goes on to say that it is a sure thing because it was pre-planned that we enjoy this treasure before the foundations of the of the world. Now, in case you believe that you are not fit for this journey, His treasure provides for us in such a way that the Father’s perception of us is holy and without blame before him in love. Not only was it preplanned for us to find the treasure but, we are loved so much by our Father that He provided away to be holy and blameless through Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
In this “Map of Sonship” it is important to understand that the excellency of power is of God and not of ourselves. Yes, we are designed to have full access to His power but we must understand that as soon as we follow after a heart that is not governed by God, then we become what the Father never intended us to be and never experience Sonship. I would compare this kind of lifestyle to what is stated on the map in 2 Timothy.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
I alluded to the stupor of a heart that is not in pursuit of God along the worthlessness that comes when we move outside of Sonship. This quote from J.M.Nouwen shows a direct correlation between the wandering believer who has wandered off path and deceived by the facade of a more cultural Christianity. Read this quote again. Let it sink in and then ask yourself if you have wandered away from the heart and intent of God to walk in Sonship.
“Although claiming my true identity as a child of God, I still live as though the God to whom I am returning demands an explanation. I still think about his love as conditional and about home as a place I am not yet fully sure of. While walking home, I keep entertaining doubts about whether I will be truly welcome when I get there. As I look at my spiritual journey, my long and fatiguing trip home, I see how full it is of guilt about the past and worries about the future. I realize my failures and know that I have lost the dignity of my sonship, but I am not yet able to fully believe that where my failings are great, 'grace is always greater.' Still clinging to my sense of worthlessness, I project for myself a place far below that which belongs to the son, (p. 52).”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming
It is important to understand that the treasure we seek is found in Jesus. He is the light in us, for us, and through us so I will hover a while on this passage mentioned previously.
2 Corinthians 4:6-10 KJV
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Having initially been brought to an awareness of Jesus by a light that shone so bright it stopped him in his tracks, Paul shines a light on three important understandings for anyone who desires to navigate on a well lit path and shine brightly in the dark days that seem to have engulfed our culture.…
Light Reflected from Us
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world.
Ye are the light of the world.
“I am the light of the world,” Jesus said. Then He said to you and me, “You are the light of the world.” Was He confused? Are there two lights? No. Think of it this way: Jesus is the Sun, the source of light. We are like the moon. We live in dark times. Yet, as we walk with Jesus, we reflect His light.
The moon is not visible during a lunar eclipse because the earth comes between the sun and the moon. In other words, when the world gets in the way, the “ministry” of the moon can no longer be seen.
How about you and me? We are to be the light of the world. Yet the degree to which we allow the pleasures, pursuits, and passions of the world to creep into our lives will be the degree to which the Light is eclipsed. On the other hand, if we look at Jesus without allowing the world to creep in, His reflection will be clear in our lives. That is why Paul tells us to behold the Lord with an open face—to remove anything in our life that comes between the Son and us. If we do, we’ll shine not with the fading light of legalism, but with the glow of the liberty in the Spirit—which never fades.
Light Imparted to Us
2 Corinthians 4:6-7
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
By His Spirit, God places the treasure of His Son into the clay pots of our lives. This is like placing the Hope diamond in a Glad trash bag. After all, it’s only logical that if one has a thing of beauty and value, he would have a gold-covered box or something exquisite to contain it. Therefore, it’s a mystery, indeed, as to why God would place the treasure of His Son in clay pots like us—until we realize that God does this so that the excellency of the treasure would be that much more brilliant.
Light Shining Through Us
2 Corinthians 4:8–10
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Finally, Paul says that whenever we go through hard times, there is opportunity for the light to shine forth through the breaking of the vessel.…
As they charged oppressive taxes and plundered their cities, the Midianites provoked the children of Israel mercilessly—until God called a reluctant Gideon to deliver His people. When Gideon blew the trumpet and called men to march with him into battle against the Midianites, thirty-two thousand men responded.
“There are 145,000 Midianites, and only 32,000 of us. I don’t like the odds,” said Gideon. “Neither do I,” said God. “There’s too many of you.” So He instructed Gideon to tell anyone afraid of the battle to go home. Twenty-two thousand walked way. “Ten thousand is still too many,” God said, and weeded out an additional ninety-seven hundred men who drank face-first from the river rather than keeping an eye out for the enemy. The three hundred remaining men—those who didn’t spend unnecessary time doing necessary tasks, those who realized the seriousness of their call and the reality of the enemy—were the men who accompanied Gideon into battle.
Following the strategy given him by God, Gideon gave each man a trumpet and a torch within an earthen vessel. Then he positioned them on the hills surrounding the valley of Jezreel, where the Midianites lay sleeping. On a given signal, they blew their trumpets, broke the clay pots, and shouted, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Hearing the sound, the men of Midian stumbled out of their tents, saw the lights surrounding them, and no doubt assumed that each torch represented not a single soldier, but an entire division.
“We’re surrounded by thousands!” they cried. In their confusion, the Midianites began attacking one another (see Judges 7).
Thus, there was victory in the dark night because the light caused the enemy to be confused and beaten back. But the light could only be seen when the earthen vessels were broken. This is why Paul could say, “Yes, we are persecuted; yes, we are crushed—but it doesn’t bother us because through this, the light of the Lord comes flooding out of us in ways that beat back the darkness and deception of Satan.”
As I think about Paul’s words, two things happen.
First, the light goes on within me. I understand that the Lord allows me to go through times of breaking so that those around me might see His reality shining forth from me.
Second, I lighten up as I realize that, because I’m just a clay pot, I don’t have to put on an act or come across as a “religious” person. As a result, all glory goes to the power, mercy, greatness, and kindness of God, who placed in me the unspeakable gift, the incredible treasure of His Son. Now, for those who have believed, it is easy to understand that this is what God hardwired us for from the very beginning in the Garden and we can now enjoy our sonship on a well lit path every day because the treasure of His son has been placed in inside cracked pots like you and me!
About the Author
God Justifies the Ungodly!
Romans 3:20-4:5 God justifies the ungodly who trust in him. God acquits the guilty!
While I have frequently stumbled in life, God has been gracious! The ‘Map of Sonship is crucial to the success of folks who desire to walk closely with the Lord and are wanting to enjoy the freedom to be who God created them to be. This is for those who struggle with the navigation of Christianity, defeat, depression, isolation, their own sins, hearing from the Lord, and moving past the mistakes of their past. It is a small part of my personal walk with the Lord in as Jesus has invited me to walk with Him in full on Sonship!
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John is Pastor at The Redeemed Adventure Project and Author of various Adventure Journals, Fireside Challenges, and Blogs excerpts from books he written over the last 12 years.