"So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." 1 John 4:16 (ESV)
I was born with a crooked toe. I know that is a strange opening, but it is something that has brought me great joy over the years. You see, it is one of the things that I inherited from my father. He told me that after my birth a nurse came to him and apologized that one of my toes was "malformed." When he asked her questions about it, she told him that one toe was crooked rather than straight. He laughed then told her that he had one just like it so I had gotten it from him.
Now, I was a daddy's girl. Never was I more content than when I was with him. I decided when I was very young to pattern myself after him. One of the greatest compliments I ever received came on the day he passed away when someone dear said that I was just like him. Through tears of deep grief, I smiled, grateful that the Lord had allowed me to be his daughter.
We all inherit traits from our biological parents. It may be our height or the shape of our nose. As we grow we may develop some of their other characteristics. We may be shy, have bad tempers or be kind-hearted and generous. Though some of these things are learned behaviors, others are inborn. Whether we like it or not, our parents leave their "marks" on us.
Scripture tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, when we believe in Him and repent of our sins, that we become children of God. John 1:2 tells us, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." If we are His children, then we can be sure that we will also bear His traits as well.
Today's verse reminds us that God is love and that if we are abiding in love then He abides in us. We are to become like Him.
Because I loved my earthly father so much, I have shared his humor, his wise words and the love he had for me with those around me. Those things are important to me. They shaped me. But, even more important are the gifts that I have received from my heavenly Father. I am not just a child of Jim King, but I am a child of the King of Kings and therefore have been given a new nature, new gifts that are like His.
I hope you can identify with my experiences. I spent a lot of time with my dad. I watched him and how he handled life. I listened to his words, took them in and hid them in my mind and heart. I worked to develop a close relationship with him and made sure he knew how much I loved him.
Now I have a Father who is eternal and has sacrificed His only Son on my behalf. And on yours. Because of His great love, grace and mercy, He has reached down to make a way for us to return to Him. If earthly relationships are worth our time and effort, how much more so is our relationship with the great I Am? Are we as willing to spend our time and energy with Him? Which of His traits do we find within ourselves? How familiar are we with His words, His wisdom and His love? Are we allowing Him to change us to His likeness?
Just some things to think about as we go through this week. May His love envelop each of us and may our response to Him be to sit at His feet and drink in all He has to offer. God bless.