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[How God’s Children Change, Citation: Craig Barnes, author and pastor of National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.; from sermon "The Blessed Trinity" (5-30-99)]

When I was a child, my minister father brought home a 12-year-old boy named Roger, whose parents had died from a drug overdose.

There was no one to care for Roger, so my folks decided they’d just raise him as if he were one of their own sons.

At first it was quite difficult for Roger to adjust to his new home—an environment free of heroine-addicted adults!

Every day, several times a day, I heard my parents saying to Roger:

"No, no. That’s not how we behave in this family."

"No, no. You don’t have to scream or fight or hurt other people to get what you want."

"No, no, Roger, we expect you to show respect in this family."

And in time Roger began to change.

Now, did Roger have to make all those changes in order to become a part of the family?

No. He was made a part of the family simply by the grace of my father.

But did he then have to do a lot of hard work because he was in the family?

You bet he did.

It was tough for him to change, and he had to work at it.

But he was motivated by gratitude for the incredible love he had received.

Do you have a lot of hard work to do now that the Spirit has adopted you into God’s family?

Certainly. But not in order to become a son or a daughter of the heavenly Father.

No, you make those changes because you are a son or daughter.

And every time you start to revert back to the old addictions to sin, the Holy Spirit will say to you, "No, no. That’s not how we act in this family."

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