Most any time my parents are with my children and me, I am reminded by them that my two boys do many of the same things that I did when I was a child. While I don’t think it is all together bad that my children possess many of the same traits and characteristics as I, however this does call to mind a biblical principle that we may tend to forget. We are God’s offspring. (Acts 17:28-29) Everyone one of us was created in the image of God. That is a remarkable distinction. No other creature on this earth can make that claim. Nevertheless from the beginning of time man has seemingly cast off those traits in order to act upon their own will. Just call to mind the people who lived in the days of Noah or the Jews who made up the northern part of the kingdom of Israel.
We as individuals are given a choice in our lives to either seek our own will or to follow the will of God. Mankind was created with the ability to think and to reason and decide the path we will follow. For those who have chosen to follow God, do you recall what took place when you were baptized? The scriptures point out that when you were immersed in water, you were born into the family of God. You were made a part of the household of God. (1 Tim. 3:15, Eph. 2:19) You were made heirs with Jesus the son of God. (Romans 8:14-17)
Now back to our physical families. We can easily see that our children look like us, talk like us, and even think like us. Whether physical offspring or not, when a child spends enough time with their parents, in most cases that child will begin to show forth traits and characteristics of those with whom they live. That in it self should demonstrate to parents the great responsibility that has been placed upon us to bring up our children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4)
Yet, I believe we can take this illustration further. When we fully understand the relationship that we enjoy as children of God, we may need to stop and ask ourselves a few questions regarding that great blessing. Are we learning from our Father in Heaven? As a child in the family of God, do we exhibit traits and characteristics of God our Father? The longer we “live” with God as our father, the more God-like we should become. Peter writes “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) We have a responsibility to grow as a child of God. Does not Paul use the fact of growth that occurs in mankind to illustrate what is to take place in an individual/congregation in 1 Cor. 13:11? The author of Hebrews uses the fleshly diet of man to impress upon the readers this idea of growth and maturity that God desires. But again the question, are we learning from our spiritual Father? Whose traits and qualities are we imitating?
We have a perfect example of a child showing forth the qualities of their Father in the life of Jesus. The writer of Hebrews shows us that Jesus lived his life showing forth the image of God. (Hebrews 1:2-3) Jesus told his earthly parents that he was to be about his Father’s business. (Luke 2:49) In every aspect of life, whether joy or sorrow, sunshine or rain, happy or sad, peace or turmoil, Jesus acted like his father. To the death that he died, he constantly illuminated the awesome and glorious qualities of God his Father.
Perhaps the next time you hear the phrase, “Whose child is this?” It will cause you to stop and think about whose child you are and whose traits and characteristics you are showing in your life.