“You look just like your father!”
I heard this phrase a lot as a child. Occasionally, somebody would tell me I resembled my mother, but more often than not, I was told I looked just like my dad. When I was a young teenager, a relative even said, “if you cut your hair super short, you’d look just like him at your age!” I had his dark eyelashes, his ski slope nose, his hair color and a similar smile. We are definitely related!
Family resemblances fascinate me! Now that I have children of my own, I’m continually struck by how much they all resemble both sides of their extended family. Certainly they each have an equal mix of my husband and myself in their looks, but then I’ll catch a glimpse of my mother one day in a glance from my daughter, or her tiny smirk in a photograph looks just like her aunt’s as a child. As it often goes, my daughters both resemble my husband’s side of the family more, and my sons resemble mine. I tell my second born daughter often, just as people used to tell me, “you look just like your daddy!” And with my sons, it’s often, “you look just like grandpa!” Sometimes they look like one relative one day, and morph into another the next. It will be fun to see who they resemble the most when they’re grown!
I inherited more than just looks from my dad, though. Have you noticed other traits tend to run in families too? I definitely inherited my father’s sense of humor. Often times I will send a video or article that I find hilarious to my mother and she won’t be impressed. But the same video or article will get a good chuckle out of my dad. My dad and I also share a willingness to make friends with complete strangers and to present ourselves authentically to people we’ve never met. We’re both easy going and laid back, both in the way we walk and in the way we interact with the world. Since my dad’s not perfect, I also inherited some of his less desirable qualities, such as the habit of talking too loudly on the phone, or the tendency to be a little bossy and always have to have the last word. I’m sure you can think of traits you’ve inherited from your father too. All of us are a sum of the nature and nurture we received from our parents. We reflect their nurture and love for us, yet inherit their legacy of sin right along with the matching eyes and chin.
I have another Father who has given me an inheritance, and so do you. Our Father in heaven calls us both his heirs. Just as Jesus is God’s son, so we are God’s children.
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:16-17)
We were made in God’s image. Just as I physically resemble my earthly father, my body was made to resemble the body of God.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
But the resemblance shouldn’t stop there. Most people have never seen God. So they aren’t going to be able to identify us as God’s heirs just by looking at our physical bodies. They’re going to determine our family resemblance by our words and our actions. Who do we resemble when we talk and go about our daily lives? Just as my sense of humor or my friendliness with strangers reflect my earthly dad, my words and actions should point others straight to my Heavenly Father. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind whose child I am.
As God’s children, we don’t inherit sin and death along with His love. We don’t receive negative qualities or habits from God. We receive forgiveness, truth, and eternal life. We receive the ability to Love others and to share His Good News.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
Because sin entered the world, we often forget whose children we are. We act like adopted children of Satan, reflecting qualities that stem from hate and sin instead of love and forgiveness. In those instances, anyone observing both us and our Heavenly Father would glance us both over and comment, “you two look nothing alike. Are you sure you’re related?”
Our position as God’s heirs is secure. So long as we believe in Him, we cannot lose our inheritance. So let’s rejoice in that heritage and share it with others! Let’s reflect Our Father, not just through our words and looks, but through our actions, so that anyone who wants to know our Heavenly Father can come to know him through us.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)