On most days I have my morning prayer time in my Dad’s old sitting room. His desk is still there, and a few of his things. And his picture. This morning, however, I found myself sitting at the small table where he used to have his breakfast. As I sat in the chair where I used to sit across from him each morning I realized again how much I miss him.
As I do various things related to ministry, work or just life, I often think of how much my Dad would have enjoyed them. When we had the service of investiture and I was elevated to the role of Provincial Archbishop I thought about how proud my Dad would have been to be sitting there with us. It is a good and godly thing to desire to honor your parents, and to live in ways that would bring them pride and joy. Among the Ten Commandments, the only one to which a specific promise is attached along with the command is the one that says, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
He had many wonderful and endearing qualities, but he had his faults as well. I love my father, but I don’t want to be COMPLETELY like him.
I have a man whom I honor as a spiritual father, Archbishop Charles Travis. For close to twenty-five years he’s poured his life into mine. He’s confronted me when necessary, encouraged me often, and lived out his spiritual walk in ways that exemplified sacrificial giving of himself, his time and his treasure. He brought me to an understanding of the importance of convergence when I found myself dissatisfied with the shallowness of my own spiritual depth. I had abandoned the sacramental stream I was raised in when I was confronted by Christ in a pentecostal setting and recognized the difference between “being religious” and having a relationship with Jesus. One of the Archbishop’s “Traverbs” made me realize my error and compelled me to re-examine the historic role of the sacramental stream in the Church. He said, “You haven’t thrown out the baby with the bathwater, son. You threw out the baby and KEPT the bathwater.”
My Archbishop is a man of many wonderful and endearing qualities, but he has his faults as well. I love my spiritual father, but I don’t want to be COMPLETELY like him.
Today’s verse tells us WE SHOULD HONOR GOD AND TRY TO BE COMPLETELY LIKE HIM.
Completely ?!?!? REALLY ?????
Sometimes I look at the things God has written in His word and think to myself, “He’s GOT TO BE kidding.”
Perhaps you’re one of those students who regularly gets 100% on your tests. If so, “good on you” as my Aussie friends say. But here’s a news flash – You’re NOT going to get 100% on this one!!! And neither will I. Nor any of us.
WE SHOULD HONOR GOD AND TRY TO BE COMPLETELY LIKE HIM.
Wow!!! There’s a goal that I have a hard time even wrapping my mind around. COMPLETELY LIKE HIM. Whew!
So here’s two thoughts to keep in mind as you sit, think and pray about today’s verse.
First, the GOAL here is to honor God with our effort. A dedicated and determined full-court press with the goal of being COMPLETELY like God, even though we will never be able to reach that goal. That is because the effort itself will have an incredible impact on our character. It may be impossible for a man to sprint from Base Camp 1 in Nepal to the peak of Mount Everest, but just training for the attempt will have an immeasurable and ongoing impact on your physical and mental capacity. In the same way TRYING TO BE COMPLETELY LIKE GOD will change who we are.
Second, it is God Who is actually working in us and through us as we yield in obedience to His Holy Spirit. He is the one who enables us as we TRY TO BE COMPLETELY LIKE HIM. He is forming us, and conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ. I know a man of God who had poured his life into a certain young man through many difficult years. He told me that, one particular night as they sat in a car outside the young man’s home, that young disciple turned to him and said, “I have to know something. ARE YOU JESUS?” He assured him that He was not. But I’ve always been struck by the implication of the question. That man had been so conformed to Christ’s image — His character and His love — that someone actually confused the two of them. Perhaps that’s not COMPLETELY LIKE HIM, but it is sure a lot closer than a whole lot of us.
I have a Heavenly Father. He is the essence of every wonderful and endearing quality you can imagine; and many you cannot possibly conceive of. He is love personified. And He is perfect and faultless. I WANT TO BE COMPLETELY LIKE HIM.