Thursday, December 18, 2008

SOTM 26: Chip Off The Old Block

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[b] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

-Mt. 5:43-48

I'm a chip off the old block. As I grow older I notice more and more how much I'm like my father. We are both fashion-challenged. My dad plays tennis in a long sleeve button down shirt tucked into blue elastic shorts (pulled up way too high) with black socks and white shoes. I was ordered to wear only what was purchased for me when I played in a band for Christian youth conferences. Dad and I are both snobs about our music and beverage choices. Nothing makes for more exciting dinner conversation than a little political banter or a discussion of the Civil War. It drives the rest of our family crazy during the holidays, but we sure have a lot of fun. I don't try to be like my dad. I just am.

Similarly if we are to be like our heavenly Father it won't come simply by trying to be like him. This is good news because otherwise this passage of scripture could lead us into an endless cycle of trying and failing. Jesus tells us to perfect. We must take this passage in its biblical context. We were in fact created to be perfect like our heavenly Father. (Gen. 1) But sin has infected every area of our lives and tarnished the image in which we were created. Colossians teaches us that Jesus is the "image of the invisible God." (1:15) Through uniting ourselves to Christ in relationship we are reconciled to God. We become "new creations" (2 Cor 5:17). Our old image is restored and we become "perfect in Christ." (Col 1:28). We are seen as perfect in the sight of God even while Christ works out that perfection slowly, wonderfully, and often painfully in our lives. (Hebrews 10:14) But as this process grows and we mature we are able to act more and more like our heavenly Father.

If I suffered from some kind of mental illness I might stop acting like my dad. I might start dressing better. I might start liking lite beer. But medical treatment could repair the damage and I could go back to being a chip off the old block. Similarly, our relationship with Christ helps restore us to how we were originally created--to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home