A Better Man

A spontaneous comment from my nine-year-old son made my eyes go all misty the other day. We were chatting in the kitchen about this and that. During a lull in conversation, his blue eyes got all far off and dreamy looking, the tiniest hint of a smile formed on his lips, and he said,

“I found out just how much Dad loves us—I overheard him saying that he wants us to grow up to be better men than he is.”

I love this for a couple of reasons.

1. Besting Dad is a high bar. He’s such an excellent man and beloved father that the idea of becoming an even greater man someday is almost unthinkably wonderful.

2. It’s a very healthy connection. If Dad wants to help me develop my character, the motive must be a deep and selfless love.

Naturally, I thought about how this is exemplified in God’s love for us. We can’t be better than Jesus. There’s no such thing. But he wants us to be like him. Crazy wonderful, right?

My son gets it. Why don’t I? I often respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the call to repentance like it’s an insult with the express purpose of causing me shame—as if God is pointing his finger, shaking his head, and sighing a resigned sigh at the failure he’s come to expect from me.

While I ought to be moved by the fact that my sin does, indeed, grieve God, I also need to remember that conviction is actually an exciting opportunity. It’s an invitation to become someone whose character looks more like Jesus’ own. I need to remember that it shows me just how much God loves me.

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…”  Romans 8:29

2 thoughts on “A Better Man”

  1. I was asking students in a theology class last week ‘What is the purpose of being a Christian?’ Good discussion followed – and we landed on the image language you quote in Romans 8:9 and in a surprising number of other places. It’s such a big theme – God’s goal for his children is to become like Jesus through the work of the Spirit. And so often we lose sight of that and replace it with a host of other things. And how refreshing and clarifying to be reminded of God’s good purposes, thanks.

  2. Yeah, Romans 8 was the passage that came to mind. I found this reminder so encouraging, though, that I made a mental note to do a little study and see how many other places I could find this theme. Sounds like I would have enjoyed the class!

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