Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. – Genesis 25:29-34 (ESV)
Happy New Year! What a year we just had, and I’m sure 2021 will be full of even more surprises. As you consider what the Lord would have in store for you this year, let me propose one thing: Don’t be an Esau. That is to say: Don’t trade your birthright for a bowl of soup.
In the book of Genesis, we read about Esau—Isaac and Rebekah’s first-born son—trading his birthright to accommodate his momentary pleasures (in this case, his stomach). By giving up his birthright, Esau gave up his right to serve God as a priest, along with a double portion of his father’s inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17).
In 2020, I saw many (professed) Christians giving up their birthright for a bowl of soup. Let me explain.
For those who have been redeemed by Christ (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14), you are now heirs of Christ (Romans 8:17). And because you are heirs of Christ, He has set you free and provided you with the greatest news of all time – freedom in Christ! As Christians, we call this The Gospel – the good news. Through Christ, this is our birthright: to share in this inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12). Those who belong to Him have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, and as such, we now live by the Spirit who provides us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:23-24). What an incredible inheritance!
But getting back to my original comment—many people are surrendering this birthright daily for the things that Paul speaks about earlier in Galatians 5: impurity, idolatry, fits of anger, and enmity, to name a few. If you don’t believe me, scroll through a social media feed for five or ten minutes; you’ll likely find all of these things there. You might even be involved in some of them. Here is a small sample:
- Impurity: What are you streaming these days?
- Idolatry: How much time are you spending on your devices? As Tim Keller notes, “An idol is anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God.”
- Fits of anger / Enmity: How has your speech been towards those you disagree with over the past number of months? In all my years, I have never seen so many (professed) Christians burn bridges with other people over trivial things. [There are a number of people who should likely take an extended break from social media—for their own sake, and for the sake of others.]
My challenge to you in 2021 is simply this: don’t be an Esau. Don’t trade your birthright for a bowl of soup.
None of us knows how much time we have left on this earth. Let’s not squander it arguing with people about meaningless things or wasting it away on things that take us away from God. Instead, make the fruits of the Spirit [love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control] your mantra this year and pour these qualities into other people. The Gospel really is good news; share it with others!
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:9-14 (ESV)
About This Site
My name is Ray Majoran; I love God and enjoy inspiring people through photography and writing. I find it impossible to look through the lens of a camera and think to myself, “Wow… that happened by chance!” Have a look around; if you have any questions, shoot me a note! Every morning, I send an email featuring photos that I've taken from around the world, along with a Scripture verse. If you'd like to receive these emails, please feel free to subscribe.