“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV 2011).
I was visiting her home because she was unable to attend church and could not take the Lord’s Supper without a deacon’s visit. She shared a beautiful story about my father, the retired physician.
“I was in that half sleep, half wakeful time the day after my surgery, dozing, when I felt this gentle kiss on my forehead. I awakened to see your father with his beautiful smile. He didn’t say much and he didn’t stay long. But the peace that came over me from that sweet kiss, I can still feel today.”
After that home visit, I checked on a couple of my own patients in the hospital. As I was leaving one precious woman, who will not be with us long, I bent over and softly kissed her forehead, “I love you. I’ll be back soon.”
It was only later that I realized the connection between this visit and my father’s old patient.
How do we get to be who we are? I am amazed that my character and behavior are so similar to my father’s; thank the Lord. Some of this is genetic; much is my long-term exposure to the person whose character I long to replicate.
How might we become the person God would choose us to be? Same factors: genetics and exposure.
It takes genetics. God has given us the right “genetics” in our rebirth through Jesus Christ. Just as I was born of my earthly father, we, as Christians, are reborn of our heavenly Father, with a new life that contains the spiritual “DNA” necessary to grow ever more like Him.
It takes exposure: time with our Father during real activity and relationship—not only time alone with our Lord, but also focused time with Him in our workplace, where we seek His presence as we examine each patient, teach each student, drink coffee with each colleague.
It also takes discipline: discipline to destroy bad habits and cleave bad relationships, discipline to form good habits and establish right relationships.
It takes a deep desire.
When speaking of God’s choice of Jacob over Esau, even though Jacob was a scoundrel, Oswald Chambers noted:
“God loves the man who needs him. Esau was satisfied with who he was. Jacob wanted to be more than he was.”
I’ve got the right genetics—the cross made sure of that.
How much do I really want to be more than I am—more like Jesus?
Continue to mold me. Let me desire and work to become more like my Lord.