Have you ever been told that you look like your mother or father? In my family, this is often something along the lines of “you’re the spitting image of your dad.” Not the most flattering turn of phrase, but it is often used. It serves as a pronouncement that you bear a strong physical resemblance to another—usually a family member. I have learned recently that there are those who believe that I don’t just look like my dad, but that I resemble his behavior, his reactions, his acts of service and that makes me proud. I always admired how my dad treated others and made every effort to show kindness, compassion and love.
The word love is used 561 times in the Bible (NIV.) Christ himself invited us to abide in His love and then suggested that we are to love as He loved us and that “everyone will know we are His disciples by our love.” Love is a fruit of the Spirit, according to Galatians 5:22-23—a fruit that requires attention from us as Christians. It’s a fruit that sets us apart from others in this world filled with hate, violence, prejudice and malicious intent. I wonder if the love we live shows any resemblance at all to the love of God, especially when the world needs more love now than ever.
In an answer to an inquiring Christian who was concerned about how best to share their faith with another, Billy Graham responded, “most of all, ask God to make you an example to others of Christ’s love. The greatest sermon you’ll ever preach is the example of a life that’s been transformed by the power of Christ. Do others see Christ in you—His love, His patience, His purity, His joy?”
We are promised in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that “we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory…” We are being transformed into the image and likeness of our God, the God who loves us with a perfect love.
I love seeing you, the Church…the Canadian Baptist church…love. I’ve witnessed and heard of your love for newcomers to Canada, your love for one another after a business meeting fracas, your love for the newborn and the born-again, your love for your Anglican, Fellowship Baptist, or Mennonite neighbour, your love for the homeless, your love for the child on the other side of the world, dependent on your gift and encouragement and your love for your family. Keep loving that way. When we do we bear a striking resemblance to God. We are an example of Christ’s love to others.
As a matter of fact… you’re the spitting image of your Father. Amen.