- Tullian Tchividjian - http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian -

Don’t You Worry Child

Posted By Tullian Tchividjian On December 17, 2012 @ 7:37 am In Uncategorized | 13 Comments

[1]I was putting my daughter Genna (11) to bed the other night and I asked her, “Honey, what do you think is God’s overall disposition toward you?” Her immediate response was, “Disappointed.” After probing why she might answer that way–wondering, perhaps, if the Holy Spirit had convicted her regarding something she may have said or done–I realized that she wasn’t feeling convicted about any particular sin, she simply sees God as someone whose feelings toward her are basically unhappy ones. She knows that God is perfect and that she is imperfect–she understands that God is holy and that she is sinful–and so it only makes sense to her that God is perpetually displeased with her.

Seizing an opportunity to preach the gospel to my daughter–AGAIN–I scrambled in my mind for an illustration that might help an 11 year-old grasp the liberating power of Christ’s imputed righteousness. Now, don’t be nit-picky. I know illustrations all break down at some point. But this was my best off-the-cuff attempt to help an 11 year-old sleep well knowing that God’s love for her is immutable (it’s actually kind of sad that I even have to say that).

I said, “Genna, imagine some stranger (let’s call him Steven) comes walking down our street right about the time Mommy is making dinner. He walks up our driveway, through our front door (without knocking), into our kitchen, looks at mommy and asks, ‘What’s for dinner?’ Now, you and I both know that Mommy is hospitable. But a complete stranger walking in our house would freak her out. She’d probably say something like, ‘Who are you? And if you don’t turn around and leave right now I’m going to call the police.’”

I continued, “Now imagine that same stranger comes walking down our street around dinner time with Gabe (Genna’s 17 year-old brother). The two of them together walk up our driveway, through the front door, and into our kitchen. Gabe looks at Mommy with his arm around his friend and says, ‘Mom, this is my friend Steven. Can he stay for dinner?’ Her response would be totally different, wouldn’t it? She would say something like, ‘Nice to meet you Steven. Of course you can have dinner with us.’ Then she’d get another place-setting and treat Steven like a son at our table. Why? Because he was with Gabe.”

I then went on to explain the difference between the way God feels toward those who come to him without Jesus and those who come to him with Jesus. Reminding her that, because of what Jesus did for her on the cross, God sees her as a friend and a daughter, not an enemy and a stranger, she smiled. I explained that God is a good Father and will discipline those he loves, but because she’s with Jesus, God’s affection for her is unchanging and his approval of her is forever.

Having talked to many, many Christians over the years, I know for a fact that a lot of them (like Genna) think that God is perpetually disappointed with them. Maybe it’s time the church spends more energy reminding Christians that God’s love for them is not dependent on what they do or don’t do, but rather on what Christ has done for them. For, as Luther said so well, “God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to God because he loves them.”

I promise you, more Christians need to be reminded of this than you think–including you and me, if we’re being honest!

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13 Comments To "Don’t You Worry Child"

#1 Comment By Todd Van Voorst On December 17, 2012 @ 9:23 am

This is a beautiful example of Christ’s love. Yeah, I’m sure if examined up close the pixels may break down in Gospel specificity, but in general is communicates the essence of the Gospel emphatically. Jesus is the difference in how we are received by God. Could not be clearer in Scripture or in your example. Thank you for that example Pastor, I pray you don’t mind me downloading that into my repertoire for future use with my children (4, 2, and 9 months).


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#3 Comment By theoldadam On December 17, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

God loves us, not because of us, not even in spite of us, but solely out of His sheer grace and mercy.

#4 Comment By Eugene On December 17, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

Hello Pastor Tullian,

Amen, I need to hear this message all the time, it really never gets old. And just as Todd, I will also use this same illustration with my kids and others. Also, just to give thanks to you, I think you more then any other blogger/writer have forced me to focus on my justification (and redemptive indicatives) and to not ever leave it (because oh am I prone to do so) when living out my Christian life.

As I’ve been following the ongoing discussion about sanctification I think it would also be helpful if you clarify how the same grace that saves (justifies) us is the same grace that disciplines (sanctifies) us. Personally I also need to hear passages like Titus 2:11-14 and how this fleshes out in my Christian life. How does this grace (Jesus) that saves us also train us to renounce ungodliness, live self-controlled upright and godly lives. Also what role does future grace play in our sanctification (waiting for our blessed hope)? I think it would be helpful to hear what you think (perhaps you’ve already addressed this and I’ve missed it) about passages like this. I do believe that you focus on what we all need to hear and be reminded the most, but it would also be helpful if you clarify how grace disciplines us to obey the imperatives in Scripture. Just my thoughts.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from al lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

#5 Comment By Dennis On December 17, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

Thank you Pastor Tullian. I needed to hear this message as I’m sure others do as well.

#6 Comment By Julie B. On December 17, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

I am very thankful to have this reminder today, Pastor Tullian. It brought tears. :)

#7 Comment By Heather Marsten On December 18, 2012 @ 2:40 am

Beautiful analogy.

#8 Comment By anonymous On December 18, 2012 @ 9:14 am

“God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to God because he loves them.”


Dear Genna Tchividjian: never forget: [3].
don’t forget to tell your friends too.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Eph 3:14-21

#9 Comment By Mike On December 18, 2012 @ 9:50 am

Thank you for sharing.

#10 Comment By Paul St Jean On December 19, 2012 @ 8:41 am

We need go Know That love of God.

#11 Comment By EJDolce On December 19, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

I guess the old saying is true: you don’t really understand an idea unless you can explain it to an 8 year old… or in this case an 11 year old. This post was SUCH a blessing- truly grateful!

#12 Pingback By Friday Random Linkness | Noel Jesse Heikkinen On January 11, 2013 @ 5:50 am

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#13 Pingback By ‘Don’t worry.’ Easier said than done. | re:gen On March 5, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

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URL to article: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2012/12/17/dont-you-worry-child-2/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/files/2012/12/swedish-house-mafia-dont-you-worry-child1.jpg

[2] : http://onceforalldelivered.blogspot.com/

[3] : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMS5563qG7g