OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            This past week I posted a picture of my father on Facebook because Tuesday would have been his eighty-sixth birthday.  There were numerous comments made by those who saw the post.  One comment was repeated several times.  Individuals said:  “You sure do resemble your father.”  There have been others who have known both my father and me who have said:  “You act like your dad at times.”  Even Kathleen has commented:  “You are just like Jerald sometimes.”  This is not unusual.  Due to both heredity and environment, children will often mimic their parents.  They will use words and phrases their parents used in their conversations.  They will have gestures just like their mother or father.  They will have the same habits their parents had.  Yes, children resemble their parents. 

            The Bible teaches us that Christians are children of God.  Every Christian was born again when, he obeyed the gospel (John 3:3, 5; II Cor. 5:17; I Pet. 1:22-23).  He was born into the family of God.  God became his heavenly Father.  Paul writes about this relationship in Romans 8:14-17.  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  and if children then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs of Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” 

            As children of God, we should resemble our heavenly Father.  The Scriptures teach us to be like Him in several places.  “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).  “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Eph. 5:1-2).  And, again:  “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Pet. 1:14-16).

            Being like God is also known as godliness.  One defined “godliness” as “God-likeness.”  There are numerous verses that exhort us to godliness.  In I Timothy 4:7, Paul instructs us to exercise ourselves unto godliness.  He writes:  “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.”  Peter notes that godliness is one of the Christians graces we are to add to our faith in II Peter 1:5-7.  “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity.”  In the third chapter of that same book, Peter again challenges his readers to be both holy and godly.  “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holiness and godliness? (II Pet. 3:11).

            When others see a Christian, they should see someone who resembles God.  If they know the heavenly Father at all, they should be able to say of us:  “You sure do resemble your Father.”  This happens when children of God do two things in their lives.  First, they give diligently heed to their Father’s teachings.  These teachings spring from the nature of God.  Thus, obedience to God’s commands causes one to manifest God in his life.  Jesus said:  “He that is of God heareth God’s words…”  Second, they follow the example of Jesus Christ.  It was He who said:  “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” (John 14:9).  What an honor it would be to have someone tell a child of God:  “You sure do resemble your Father.” 

            Being like God is extremely difficult in our world because there is another being who wants to be our father.  This is the evil one, better known as Satan or the devil.  He wants us to think, act, and abide in his way of life.  When we do, we become his children.  This happened to the Jews of Jesus’ day.  Jesus described them, saying:  “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do…” (John 8:44).  Remember, the Jews were the chosen people of God.  Yet, Jesus told them that their father was Satan, not Jehovah.  The same can happen to God’s children today.  If our deeds are evil, then Satan becomes our father instead of the God of heaven.

            Dear brethren, resembling our earthly parents is not something we normally do intentionally.  It is ingrained within us due to DNA and numerous years of watching and being instructed by our parents.  Resembling our heavenly Father, on the other hand, does take intentionality.  In other words, we must “intend” to live like God.  We have to learn His way of thinking.  We have to learn His way of behaving.  We have to learn His way of loving.  We have to learn His way in all things.  This is not an easy task.  To accomplish it, we must study His divine will found in the Bible.  Then, we have to make application of it in every area of our lives.     

            Satan and the world will try to convince us that this cannot be done.  They will tell us:  “You cannot be like God.”  They will say:  “There is no way you can ever be perfect.”  Perfection, however, is not what God requires.  God requires faith.  God requires growth.  God requires forward movement.  God requires constant maturing.  “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection…” (Heb. 6:1).  “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:  that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 7:11-12).  “Now the just shall live by faith:  but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:38-39).  “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen” (Heb. 13:20-21).

            Has anyone ever told you that you resemble your Father?  Maybe they have not expressed those very words, but perhaps they have said they could tell you are different.  They have told you that you stand out from others.  They have complimented your attitude, your speech, or your demeanor.  In essence, they are telling you that you resemble your heavenly Father.  If so, keep doing what you are doing.  Every day seek to be more and more like God.  “But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself…” (Ps. 4:3).