Parenting gives me all kinds of glimpses into God’s character. My husband and I chose to name our second son Jedidiah, which means “God’s beloved.” We wanted our son to know his identity and hear it daily. We wanted to send him into every new environment, every job interview, and every future relationship with a predefined status: he is already loved.

I look forward to him being reminded of his identity each time someone calls him by name. I long for my boy to walk into middle school knowing that he is already loved so much so that he doesn’t need to search for it from anyone there. He can simply remember his identity and then, out of an abundance of already being loved, overflow into those who need to know it for themselves.

Imagine a Little Leaguer walking up to bat. In the typical story, the little boy steps up to the plate, hits a home run, and the dad in that story stands up and shouts, “That’s my boy!”

If you are in Christ, I have good news with a very different picture. If you have surrendered your life over to Him, you are one of God’s kids. As you or I or Jed walk up to the plate of life, our Heavenly Father is already standing and shouting, “That’s my child!” with absolute joy and love and acceptance before we even swing the bat. (That’s good news for Jed, because he can’t even walk yet!)

Did you catch that? Because of everything you already are in Christ, your heavenly Father loves you before you do anything for Him.

Before you hit a home run, God accepts you.

Before you hit a home run, He is proud of you.

Before you hit the home run, or simply get to first, or even before He knows that you will strike out, He lavishes His love and acceptance all over your being. This is your identity “in Christ.” This identity was true of God’s own Son—Jesus received this type of secure identity before He began His public ministry (see Mark 1:11). And it’s true of you, too.

Child of God, may you know that your heavenly Father longs to pour identity into you so much so that you don’t walk into work, job interviews, or church searching to be loved and accepted or defined by anyone else. In Christ, you’re already loved. In Christ, before you walk up to the plate of whatever you have coming for today, your heavenly Father is standing up and shouting, “That’s my kid!” Now, step up to the plate … and swing for the fences!