by Karen Duchesneau, Milwaukee Metro South Circuit

 "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that wehould be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2

When a baby boy is born, you usually hear comments like, "He's the spitten image of his father," or "He's got his daddy's eyes." When the baby becomes a toddler, he looks up to his dad--and tries to please him by imitating him. Then people say, " father, like son!" When the son grows into a young adult, he will often play the same sport or learn the same vocational skill as his father. Then people remark, “He's following in his daddy's footsteps.”

More often than not, from watching and imitating his father through the years, a son will pick up some of the same patterns of behaviorhis father has displayed. Good qualities or bad habits, people will say, "The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree" or "The boy is a chip off the old block."

Being God's Son, Jesus is the exact representation of His Father--in substance and being, in holiness and righteousness, in glory and honor, in nature and character, in love and compassion, in words and works. Jesus loved and lived to please His Father.

We were once created in the God's image; were once sons of God; were once aligned with Him in desires, thoughts, behavior, and purpose. But when sin befell all mankind, we lost our holiness (our resemblance to God); we lost our status as God’s children; we lost our desire to love and please our Heavenly Father or to do His will--and were cut off from God. But God, in His great mercy and love, did not abandon us. Through His Son Jesus' atoning death and resurrection, we have forgiveness of sins, are reconciled with God, are adopted into His family, and share in His full inheritance.

But do we resemble our Heavenly Father? Would a stranger in the street recognize us as a member of God’s family? Are we like Jesus in heart, mind, character, and will? Do we live to love and please Him?  Jesus forgives us, encourages us and empowers us to even act like one of his family!

Lord, help us to be like Jesus. Help us to humble ourselves and be obedient to You. Through our words and actions, indwelt with the Light of Your Word and Spirit, help us to draw others to You, that they, too, may be adopted into your family, the family of God.