A Family Likeness

Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. – 1 Corinthians 4:16

I never looked like anyone in my birth family. My mother had medium brown hair, dark skin and blue eyes; my sister was blond, blue-eyed and big-boned; then there was tiny little black-haired, green-eyed me. “You must be adopted,” I heard more than once – from extended family members, no less.

In fact, everything about me – my sanguine disposition, my passion for music, my love for the written word – was alien to them. I often felt like Marilyn in The Munsters, except had I looked like her, I actually might have fit in.

The differences between me and my family became much more striking when I came to Christ. My mother died an avowed atheist; my sister, to my knowledge, never came to Christ; and my father remains in enmity to Christ. Some of my family members have forsaken me because they hate the Christ in me. That makes the family I still have all the more precious.

Any moment now, another grandson will be born. I would love to see a bubbly, black-haired, green-eyed boy about whom people will say, “He has to be related to you.” But what I desire infinitely more is to see him imitate me in my walk with Christ.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. – Philippians 3:12

May he commit all his ways to the Lord at the earliest possible age, growing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.

May he search the Scriptures for himself and apply them to his own heart. May he be bold and unflinching in his commitment to Christ yet gracious and respectful in sharing the hope he has within him.

May God’s word be a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path, and may he hide God’s word in his heart that he might not sin against Him.

May he be willing to be set apart as a Christ-follower, forever remaining thoroughly unashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of salvation for all who believe.

May he give and love, and when he feels he can’t give and love any more, may he continue to pour out from the river of life that runs within him.

May he be slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to forgive, and when he does get angry, may he not sin.

May he be kept from falling, but when he stumbles, may he be quick to repent.

May he be humble and gentle, patient and compassionate.

May prayer always be his first recourse, and may he never take for granted the privilege of one-on-one communion with the God of the universe.

May he be surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses among his family members, and let him run his race with perseverance so that he may finish strong.

May that same cloud of witnesses be iron sharpening iron throughout his life, and may love continue to cover the inevitable multitude of sins as we all journey together.

This, Lord, is my prayer. By these traits let us be known. May this be our family likeness.

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