"That's your brother? Funny, you don't look alike!"
I hear that often when people see my brother's picture. Trust me, we have the same parents, and the same number of components. God just used different parts when He put us together.
God has a family as well, and He expects His children to look like Him. Of course, God has no physical form or features. However, He expects his family members to act like Him and to resemble Him in character. In fact, He even sent His Son in human form to show us, in a spiritual sense, how He looks.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of salvation: God sent His Son into the world to pay the penalty for our sins and secure us a place in heaven. But that's not the whole of it. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God adopts that person into His family, as the Bible tells us: " . . . those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. . . . (Y)ou received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father'" (Romans 8:14, 15). God doesn't just want to save people from hell; He wants to have a family relationship with the people He created.
God loves healthy relationships. He, the Son, and the Spirit have enjoyed perfect rapport from eternity past. They live in perfect harmony. God wants the same relationship with people; He doesn't just want to supply fire insurance and leave it at that.
Salvation is chiefly the entrance into God's family. It's called being "born again" or "born of God" (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 3:9). When one receives Jesus as Savior, he inherits all the rights of a child of God (John 1:12, 13). And with rights comes responsibility: the responsibility to bear the image of God.
The outworking of that image-bearing is stated in Ephesians 5:1, 2: "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Notice that imitating God (and we all know how children imitate their parents!) requires loving others to the point of sacrificing our lives if necessary! God doesn't want superficial relationshipsHe expects total dedication as exemplified through the sacrifice of Christ for our sins.
Man was not meant to be alone (Genesis 2:18). God ordained that people live and work and worship together. In fact, God is so concerned with intimate relationships that the Trinity actually indwells the child of God (John 14:17, 20)! With God living in you, how could you not live for Him and be like Him?
Loneliness can be excruciating. And loneliness doesn't just mean being alone. One can feel lonely in a crowd of strangers or, worse still, in a crowd of familiar faces. Two places where loneliness should not be allowed are family and church. For a brief time, Jesus was separated from the Father and experienced an eternity of agony on the cross (Matthew 27:46). Separation from loved ones, whether physical or church family, can lead to despondency, which is certainly not God's will for His children.
How are your relationships? Are you a child of God through faith in Christ? Are you getting along well with your family? Your church family? If there are broken or stressed relationships in your life, imitate your Heavenly Father, who gave all He could to repair your relationship with Him. Reach out to heal the broken ties that bind; be a peacemaker.
Alan Allegra is a freelance Christian writer in Pennsylvania. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More articles at Lifestyles Over 50: http://www.lifestylesover50.com/ and the Morning Call: www.mcall.com. Available for writing. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alanallegra/
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