Can you think of a time when you have seen a child who acts just like one of their parents? In our house, we like to joke that when our oldest is being most particular, he is acting like his mom. In a similar way, when our middle child is acting rather crazy or stubborn, he must be acting like his dad.
The concept of nature versus nurture has been discussed and debated for many years. The question concerns whether people are born to act a certain way (nature), or whether there is more influence from outside factors on a person’s life (nurture). Ultimately, there are factors from both that seem to impact the way a person will turn out. This same concept is quite true for our Christian life. Our nature, the way we are born, is sinful. Romans 3:10 states, “None is righteous, no, not one.” Some are more familiar with Romans 3:23, which writes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If it were up to our nature, we would not stand a chance with coming to know Christ, but thankfully God had a different plan! We have the ability to be nurtured within the church or live differently than our nature would tell us to live. Romans 12:2 encourages us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Being part of a church body, when we seize the opportunities to learn, grow, fellowship, and challenge one another, can transform us into being more like Christ and less like the sinful nature with which we were previously destined.
In the same way that we can see children and relate them to their parent, or look at our own children and relate them to ourselves, others should be able to look at our lives and relate us to Christ. We read in 1 John 3:10, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil.” I hang on the words “it is evident” and question in my own life, is it truly evident to others that I am a child of God? If someone else would have to wonder, question, or pause to consider, that most likely is not pointing to whom I belong.
How does one make sure it is evident to whom they belong? We can find this by going back one verse, 1 John 3:9 states, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” We are born again when we have professed with our mouths and believed in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. Our faith walk does not stop there. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning. This can be such a struggle! Our nature wants to continue to sin; it constantly leads us astray. This is where we must rely on the nurturing of God’s Word to lead us in the right direction.
If I am genuinely a child of God, then I will not want to continue sinning, I will want to be and strive to be different. When we truly love God, we will not want to keep sinning but will want to make changes in our lives to better glorify Him. In these changes, it will be evident that we are children of God. This does not mean we will become perfect, but the effort we put in will not go unnoticed.