We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him. 1 John 3:2
Inside my parents’ old photo album is a picture of a young boy. He has a round face, freckles, and straight, light-blond hair. He loves cartoons, hates avocados, and owns just one record, by Abba. Also inside that album are pictures of a teenager. His face is long, not round; his hair is wavy, not straight. He has no freckles, likes avocados, watches movies rather than cartoons, and would never admit to owning an Abba record! The boy and the teenager are little alike. According to science they have different skin, teeth, blood, and bones. And yet they are both me. This paradox has baffled philosophers. Since we change throughout our lives, who is the real us?
The Scriptures provide the answer. From the moment God began knitting us together in the womb (Psalm 139:13–14), we’ve been growing into our unique design. While we can’t yet imagine what we’ll finally become, we know that if we’re children of God we’ll ultimately be like Jesus (1 John 3:2)—our body with His nature, our personality but His character, all our gifts glistening, all our sins gone.
Until the day Jesus returns, we’re being drawn toward this future self. By His work, step by step, we can reflect His image ever more clearly (2 Corinthians 3:18). We aren’t yet who we’re meant to be, but as we become like Him, we become our true selves.
When songs and films encourage us to find our “true selves,” what do you think they miss? In what area can you step toward Christlikeness today?
Jesus, make me more like You today and every day.
What makes a true child of God? John answers that question both here in 1 John 3 and in another of his writings. In the account of Jesus’ life we know as the gospel of John, he wrote: “To all who did receive [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent . . . but born of God” (John 1:12–13). Now, in this letter, John notes that as His children “we shall be like him [Jesus]” (1 John 3:2). Later in the chapter, John makes the point that a key evidence of our status as God’s children is our love for each other (v. 10). This is such a vital aspect that John says, “Anyone who does not love remains in death” (v. 14). True children of God will love each other.