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There are numerous references in the scripture that position God’s people with being ‘children’. Consider both the Old and New Testaments, our parentage to God is obvious.
Yet you are our Father, even though Abraham does not know us and Israel doesn’t recognize us. You, Lord, are our Father; your name is Our Redeemer from Ancient Times.
Isaiah 63:16 (CSB)
Jesus showed his obvious love and bond to children, so much so that when his disciples came to him asking about ranking in heaven, Jesus shut them down by calling a child to stand before them as an object lesson to them Then said:
“Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3 (CSB)
God wants us to be completely dependent on him for our sustenance. Sure, we may have jobs, all of the apostles had jobs, but Jesus called them to a higher calling than just working for a living.
Too often we get caught up in the pursuit of things, that we forget the primary thing we should be pursuing.
When we contrast our drive to attain and improve our standing to what Jesus saw in children, it becomes so apparent just why he stated that unless we become like children, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:15-18 (NLT)
Faith, reliance, trust, obedience, and imitation are the common attributes we so often see in children.
A child learns to trust a parent’s words and thereby has faith in what their parent says. From birth, a child is reliant on the parent for nurturing and supplying all that is needed to sustain life. If that trust and faith are present in a child when the parent tells them to do something or to stay away from something else, the child will obey. It isn’t till the trust has been worn down that disobedience takes root.
One of the most flattering things that children do is imitate those who they look up to.
Dressing up like mommy or daddy, performing mock work effort with their toys to mimic their parents, following closely and studying intently everything their parents do so they can likewise do the same thing.
I recall the first time my pa allowed me to shoot a shotgun. It was heavy in my young hands. I remember clearly him helping me study the barrel, so it wasn’t wavering all over the place. “Firmly hold the butt to your shoulder”, he said. “It will kickback when you pull the trigger”, I heard him say to me. “Keep a firm grip on it and don’t let it get away from you”, were his final instructions.
Squeezing the trigger, the gun bolted back hard into my shoulder, there was a defining boom as my body took the recoil from the shotgun. The target survived my solo attempt to imitate my father in this role. It was perhaps that moment that I realized just how different he and I were, and how very much I wanted to be like him in any way I could be.
Lacking any formal education beyond grade school, he possessed the wisdom of the ages in his simple way of speaking, and I wanted nothing more than to be the mirror image of that man.
He saw that desire in me and it lit up his face in a glow that beamed brighter than the sun shining above us.
God wants that relationship with us too.
Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (CSB)
He is our Father. We are his children.
This relationship is indelible when we have surrendered our lives to Jesus in faith. He serves as the ultimate example for our mentoring and standard by which we should imitate.
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children”, leaves us no question as to how our reaction to the example he provides us with, should be.
In the very same way, I as that young boy so many years ago, realized the gap between my capabilities and those of my pa, so we can see clearly the gap between our attempts to mimic Jesus and his righteousness, love, and compassion.
But we have a standard, we know what we want to become like, we desire to be like our father in any way possible. We take great honor in this as he takes great pride in us doing so.
Therefore, just as little children, Be Imitators!
In His Grace,
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