(Also posted on the God Encounters Women's Ministry blog for Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC.) www.godencounters.posterous.com
“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 (NIV)
Deer season in the South is upon us and recently, my four-year-old son, Bryson, was playing in the garage pretending to be deer hunting with his toy camouflage rifle. When I stepped out to check on him, he pretended to type on his toy cell phone and enthusiastically exclaimed, “I was just sending you a text message! I was sending you a picture of my deer. It’s a Monster Buck!”
I could not contain my laughter! You see, my precious preschooler had heard these words before. He had admired the picture of the deer his dad sent us via his camera phone last year during hunting season!
My son is a mini-version of his father. Of course they have the same DNA, but Bryson makes it a point to watch his dad and do everything just the way he does.
Saturdays are extra special because that is the one day of the week that Bryson looks forward to being his daddy’s shadow. Whatever chore his dad is working on, my son has a toy version to follow right alongside him; from a John Deere Power Wheels lawn mower, to an orange Black and Decker battery-operated weed-eater.
Bryson and his dad also share a love for baseball. At a baseball game last spring another dad asked Bryson what he wanted to be when he grows up, expecting his response to be “a baseball player.” Instead, Bryson thought for a second and the proudly stated, “I want to be just like my daddy!”
Then this past summer, while watching the two of them play on the beach together in their matching wide-brimmed desert camo hats, this verse from Ephesians came to mind. “Be imitators of God…”
Do I imitate my Heavenly Father as well as my son imitates his earthly father? Is it my mission in life to follow Him?
Do I look like Him? – radiant from time spent with him? (See Psalm 34:5)
Do I dress like Him? - clothing myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience? (See Colossians 3:12)
Do I love like Him? – having a deep love for other people? (See 1 Peter 4:8)
Do I live like Him? – bearing the fruit of the Spirit -love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? (See Galatians 5:22-23)
My sisters in Christ, we should be learning from our Father above, resembling Him more and more, imitating Him. The more time we spend in sweet fellowship with our Daddy, the God of the Universe, the more we will eagerly look forward to those special times. The more we learn from reading His Word, the more we will tend to embrace his likes and dislikes and conform to His way of thinking.
Certainly an impossible feat on our own, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, we should begin a gradual but noticeable transformation into His image, eventually reflecting His glory.
This plan sounds so simple, but I must confess that I have blown it way too often. It does require deliberate time spent with the Father and total reliance on the Holy Spirit 24/7. While my fleshly qualities do not naturally share the same characteristics as the fruit of the Spirit, I am “growing up” spiritually, and my desire is to become more and more “just like my Daddy!”
Father, I want to be just like You, Lord. I confess to You that I do not always look like Your child. Show me specific areas of my life where I need to be more like You. Who do I need to love? Which areas of my heart need a new wardrobe? Fill me with the power of Your Holy Spirit so that I may resemble You more, allowing others to recognize me as Your daughter.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ..Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23;25 (NIV)
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
Copyright 2010 by Christy Long. All Rights Reserved.