1 John 3:1
Sometimes you can hear a truth so much that it becomes a truism, something that you accept as true apart from any serious consideration or experience. The danger of an uncritically accepted or unexperienced truth is that we can become inoculated against the effects of that very truth, choking out the fruit of joy it naturally should produce. For example, as a child, I grew up hearing over and over that God loved me. While the blessing of hearing the message of God's love throughout your childhood is invaluable, the fact that "Jesus loves me" was, for many years, just that: a fact that I learned, much like I learned that 2 + 2 = 4. It wasn't until my sixteenth year (still graciously early in my life) that I truly experienced in my heart the love of God that I had previously known only in my head. By God's grace, the love of Jesus made that long and crucial journey from the head to the heart, and it changed my life.
The miracle of becoming an adopted child of God is another truth that perhaps many have come to accept mentally without a full realization of what being a son or daughter of God (of God!) means experientially. However, adoption doesn't change an orphan's life by merely creating a mental category for family. The orphan's life is beautifully and joyfully changed through the relational and emotional experiences of belonging to a family. In the same way, how should our own adoption by God change our lives? As sons and daughters of God, how can we not only understand what it took to secure our adoption (see part 1), but also begin to live more intentionally and more joyfully as the very children of God?