Family Resemblance

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…” ~ Romans 8:29

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 2:5

During these unprecedented days (for most of us, in our lifetime) of quarantine and social and economic changes, necessitated by what has become a global health issue, I’ve seen several different challenges and posts on social media sites. People have more time than they know what to do with and are coming up with all kinds of creative ways to share and to socialize. Some of the challenges say to post landscape pictures; one specifically said it should be of the ocean; some say you should be in the picture, and others want only the landscape.

One challenge that intrigued me and now has prompted this post is people posting pictures with their first child and asking if you can see a family resemblance. All of the ones I’ve seen have daughters as the first child. My first child is a son. People have said we look alike, others think he looks more like his dad. I’m the first child of my parents. Some people think I look more like my dad, some people think I look more like my mom. Some people think my brother and I look nothing alike, and some people think we look very much alike. Besides the obvious genetics that contribute to what we look like and who we resemble, I started thinking about other things that are also factors.

My mom commented recently on a picture from my daughter’s wedding last summer and said I really look like my grandmother (her mother) in that picture. That made my heart smile! 🥰 Many people have said my daughter and I look very much alike, but she and I can’t see it as much. One friend of hers several years ago said it’s our smiles and our mannerisms, our laughs, that really make us look alike. Interesting. As I began making a collage of pictures to post for this family resemblance challenge, I thought about all of these things. What makes us look more like one family member or another at different times in our life? Is it more than just genetics?

All of us who have lived even a short time in adulthood know that life changes us and affects us. Hopefully we’re growing and maturing and learning and heading in the right direction. Some of life’s lessons and hardships leave traces in our hair color, in fine lines on our face, perhaps in our health. It can change our appearance, maybe even our attitude or our behavior, and it all contributes to which family members we look more like.

As these thoughts were tumbling over each other in my mind, it made me also think of our spiritual “family resemblance.” Do we who profess to be true, blood-washed believers look like our Heavenly Father? Are we growing and maturing and reflecting the image, the character, of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do people look at us and know or at least wonder if we might be a Christian? When they ask and we answer that we are, does it surprise them or do they nod and say, “I thought so.” As much as we resemble our parents or grandparents, may we also have a burning desire to resemble our Savior; to be a reflection of His nature and a testimony to those around us. Pastor Philip Vos, now Home with the Lord, was our pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hickory, NC, when our family lived in the area several years ago. Very often he would ask the Lord to please make us much more like Himself and far less of what we are by nature. I love that! I have prayed it many times through the years.

As part of our family devotions when my brother and I were growing up, my dad had us memorize different hymns, one of which I would like to share part of: O To Be Like Thee.

O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

*O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wand’ring sinners to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer, others to save.

Lyrics:Thomas Obediah Chisholm (1866-1960) Music:William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921)