November 1, 2021 — The Discipleship of Family Resemblance

“My dad and my older brother, whose name was Larry, looked very much alike,” Stan commented one morning. “They had the same basic facial features.”

“In fact,” he continued, “I was once with my dad at a baseball game when someone came up to him and said something like, ‘You must be Larry’s father’.”

“As far as I know,” I replied, “I don’t look like anyone other than myself.”

“Well,” Stan said, “this whole notion of some people obviously looking like others came to mind this morning when I was reading the apostle John’s first letter.”

“He was talking about family resemblance?” I asked.

‘He sure was,” Stan replied.  “No so much facial characteristics, but he was certainly writing about similarities in what we look like by what we do.”

“What we look like by what we do,” I repeated. “How so?”

“John wrote about practicing righteousness and loving as being characteristics that obviously flow from family heritage, either as children of God or children of the devil.”

“Wow!” I responded.  “Children of the devil.  That’s pretty harsh, isn’t it?”

“It’s one or the other,” Stan replied.  “I’m either a child of God or I’m not.  And if I am, through my acceptance of God’s free and gracious gift of salvation, there is a certain family resemblance I am to display through how I live and how I love.”

“And,” he continued, “the best way I know for me to have a family resemblance to God is for me to be totally and continually surrendered to the indwelling Holy Spirit.  He is in me for that very purpose.”

“That sounds kind of like the first step of discipleship,” I responded. “Denying self in choosing who I’m going to look like.”

“And the second step,” Stan added, “of choosing to take up having the family resemblance of God.”

“Which should lead to the third step,” I commented, “that of following Him wherever, whenever, and however He wants. I suppose we could call this ‘The discipleship of family resemblance’.”

“More than a just a supposition, my friend,” Stan replied.


Bible verses to consider:

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious:  any one who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.  1 John 3:10.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. John 1:12.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of being yours through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for those who brought me to the truth so I could accept your free and gracious gift of salvation and be able to spend eternity with you when it’s time.  Thank you, too, for keeping me on this side of eternity for as long as you want so I can pursue knowing you and your Son.  Thank you that knowing you is to result in being and doing that is different from what it would be if I were not your child.  I confess that too often I do not display the righteousness and love that you intend for your children.  Please forgive me and please help me follow your lead so that there is a strong family resemblance between me and you in every aspect of this life you have given me to live. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Are you a child of God in the sense that you have accepted His free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption? If no, why? If you are a child of God, how are you doing with the family resemblance on this side of eternity, that of practicing the righteousness and love that God intends? If you sense the need for some changes in who you resemble, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?


The book.  Waiting for the Train — Biblical Food for Growing before Going, by S. Tory Teller (Foreword by Josh McDowell) is available from and from the publisher at — It’s time to order!

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