If you watch a child carefully, you will see them copying the actions, attitudes, and words of the people around them. Monkey see, monkey do. I have to be careful with it because I’m prone towards the ridiculous and sometimes the watching eyes and listening ears of my grandchildren come back to bite me.
I remember thinking when I was a child that I wanted to be just like my father. There were many characteristics about him that I admired, like his sense of honor, his love for life, and his willingness to share with other people. But mostly I wanted to be like him because ……… well, he was my dad. He was the one man who loved me more than any other man in the world. He cared for me, protected me, comforted me. Fathers love their own children and rightly so.
There is the desire in every Christian to be like their heavenly Father, but I know from personal experience that it’s a goal that gets pushed aside. Why? Because it seems so impossible. How can I be like God? How could I ever hope to portray the image of Christ in my lousy attempt at Christendom? To be like Jesus seems like an unattainable goal that only sets us up for disappointment and disillusionment; yet scripture commands that we try.
1 John 2:6 ESV
Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Peter 2:21 ESV
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
To be like your earthly father is sort of scary. Understandably, if you didn’t or don’t have a good relationship with your father, to be like dad may be the last thing you want. Nevertheless, the DNA is unavoidably there. It amazes me how many mannerisms I inherited from my father, things I do or say that reflect his personality. I don’t understand it, but somehow his soul is still alive, flowing through me, passed down genetically or otherwise. Probably a lot was learned by example.
While salvation rejects any attempt at human effort, sanctification demands it. Some characteristics come naturally because of the Spirit living in you; you are genetically, in a spiritual sense, wired to look and act like your heavenly Father. Other things you learn by example. Remember monkey see, monkey do? Certain characteristics are assimilated by observation and repetition and scripture gives clear examples of what you should emulate.
“But I can’t!” you wail, “It’s too hard! I’ll never be like my Father!”
Don’t fret little monkey; God wouldn’t ask you to do something he wasn’t willing to help you with. When you don’t have the power to complete the task, he does. And he will hold your hand throughout the entire process.
My coffee is hot and steamy, the mug is up. Here’s to a great new week!