Being a father has been a big learning experience for me. When the Lord blessed my wife and I with twin daughters, I never dreamed all that God would teach us and I had no idea what a wonderful blessing children would be.
One of the things I often hear around our home are the words, “Daddy play with me!” Obviously, I enjoy playing with my kids, but at times is can be overwhelming. In the mornings when I am trying to get off to work and the boys want to play, I often feel torn. I want to play with them, but I know I have responsibilities to attend to. Not long ago, I was reflecting on this and I asked myself, “why do they want to play with me so much? Can’t they just play by themselves?” As I thought about this, it occurred to me that it is only natural for sons to want to be with and play with their father. Parents naturally want to spend time with their kids, and kids naturally want to spend time with their parents (see Malachi 4:6).
In the same way, it is only natural for Christians to desire to spend time with their Heavenly Father. It is unfortunate that as Christians we often get distracted with other lesser things. These distractions can be a huge hindrance to growing closer to the Lord. The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:1-2: “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” In the same way that children are master imitators, so too should we strive to imitate God and His Son Jesus Christ.
Let me share another lesson. When you look at your kids, you can’t help but see lots of similarities. When I look at all four of our kids, I see things that mirror both myself and Steph in them. Of course, there are differences, but there are resemblances and similarities that I marvel at, including physical, emotional, and personality characteristics. It is not hard to see the family resemblance.
I remember one time when we still lived in New York state and my parents were visiting for the first time. My Dad and I were attending our monthly men’s breakfast and as all the guys saw my Dad and I come in, their faces said it all. It was kind of like, “Wow, they really look alike!”
In the very first chapter in the Bible, we are told that man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). This astounding truth is often glossed over by readers, but think about it for a minute. The Creator God, the One who is Lord of Heaven and Earth…..has made us in His own image! Now, keep in mind that after the Fall of man (Genesis 3), our status as image-bearers has been marred because of sin. That’s not to say it is gone for good, but “the Fall” had devastating, far-reaching consequences. The good news is that for those who are in Christ, the image of God is being restored and remade in us. The apostle Paul writes: “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:9-10).
Ask yourself, am I growing in grace? Am I growing in godliness? Is there a clear family resemblance between me and my Heavenly Father? Scripture tells us that God is working to make his children “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:3-4), and conform us more and more to the image of Christ. Wow!
I could share with you other lessons that I have learned through parenting. No doubt the lessons will continue. Even though child rearing is tough at times, children are a huge blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3) and God uses this special relationship to teach us about Himself. If you are a parent (or a grandparent), be attentive to all that God wants to teach you through your children.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1-2)