Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Who's Your Daddy?

I have a confession.  A struggle.  A great shame.  I am my father's son.  I talk just like him, I walk like him, I look like him(but obviously a much handsomer version).  The way I process information and respond is a carbon copy of my dad.  There is virtually no way I could convince anyone who knows both of us that I am not his son. 

Now, I am just kidding.  I think my dad is great and I look up to him in so many ways.  One of my greatest disappointments as a child was when I discovered that my dad couldn't be President(he wasn't born here).  All the problems we have would have been easily solved by my dad! 

In part, a lot of the ways I am similar to my dad are genetic.  I didn't choose to have such masculine and attractive facial hair.  But in many ways our similarities were born not out of genetics, but love and respect for my dad.  He was my model in so many ways.  And consciously and subconsciously I mimicked what I observed because I valued him and wanted him to be pleased with me.

Our lives become living reflections of what we value and love.  There is no hiding what is important to you.  It is literally written all over your "face".  If you were to say you place the highest value on "this" but act in ways directly contradictory to those ways....then you don't really mean it.  No one would ever say that I think running long distances is important.....I clearly don't look like I run long distances...and...I never actually run.....No matter what I might say about the matter does not change the reality.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus has been laying out a very clear challenge to the Jewish leaders who have become enamored with their own self-righteous behavior.  As chapter 8 is wrapping up I think the most important practical application is presented. 

"If God WERE your father, you would love me"- John 8:42

He does not say, "If God were your father, you would DO something".  He makes the central point that love for God and Jesus is the driving force behind our kinship with Christ. Earlier in the passage he does start by saying that if they were really his disciples they would follow his teaching.  But lest we confuse the issue, and the order of importance, he clarifies that it is LOVE for God that drives behavior. 

To be very clear, he says FIRST--Truly being his disciple......LEADS to SECOND---Following his teaching.

Acting a certain way does not MAKE you a disciple of Christ and a child of God.  Loving God is what makes us a child of God....AND that love changes how we act. 

When we reverse the process we do not create beloved children, but whitewashed tombs. 

There are so many ways that I am like my dad.  And most of them just happened as a natural response to my love for him.  I didn't say as a five year old, "I need to WALK and TALK this way SO that daddy loves me".  BECAUSE I love my daddy I desired to do so.

So what do we need to ask ourselves?  When we look at our lives, our behaviors, etc, do they reflect plainly how deeply we love the Son?  Or, do they reflect how much we love ourselves, and, this world?  Love as a motivator needs not be given a list of do's and don'ts.  But when they aren't a natural outpouring of who we are....we have to look deeply at our hearts. 

Sometimes it is good for a dad to copy a son..... I am pretty sure if my dad understood computers he would do stuff like this to me as well.....

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