Sunday, December 05, 2010

How CAN we be like God??

Week Twelve: What qualities of God can we share?

When we talked about the creation of mankind, we talked about how humans were created in the image of God—in Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

God wants us to be like him, but last week we learned that in some ways we can never be like God. We will never be omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, or completely independent. But God has other qualities we can adopt. In fact, there are many ways we can be like God.

Some of God’s communicable, or “contagious” qualities—qualities we can share—are knowledge/wisdom, truthfulness, goodness, love, mercy, peace, righteousness. Let’s see how we can be like God by examining those qualities.

1. God is knowledge and wisdom. Since God is omniscient, he knows everything (1 John 3:20). While we don’t know everything, we can know some things, and we can ask God for wisdom. What’s the difference between wisdom and knowledge?

Knowledge is absorbing a lot of facts and information. Many people go to school and graduate with a lot of information in their heads. Wisdom is knowing how to use information. More importantly, wisdom is seeing the world as God sees it . . . and knowing how to act from an eternal perspective.

A lot of people have a lot of education and yet they are foolish when it comes to matters of eternal importance. “Only fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 53:1). Many people would rather trust in their education than in the God who created them.

Yet you don’t have to have a degree to be wise. James says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” God will give you wisdom if you ask for it—and if you read and study his Word, you will be well on your way to becoming truly wise!

2. God is truthful. God does not lie. “For you are God, O Sovereign Lord. Your words are truth . . .” (2 Samuel 7:28).

“This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began” (Titus 1:2).

Every time you choose to tell the truth instead of telling a lie, you are displaying a quality of God’s.

3. God is good. What is good? Something that is good is something God approves, because God is goodness. When he created the earth, it was very good. Everything good comes from God: “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens” (James 1:17).

Paul wrote, “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” When we choose to do something good—something of which God would approve—we are exhibiting God’s goodness.

4. God is love. Everyone loves this one, and everyone talks about it. “For God so loved the world . . .” (John 3:16). So when we love others, we are displaying God’s love.

John wrote, “Everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments” (1 John 5:1-2).

5. God is merciful. Mercy means showing goodness or giving help to someone who needs it. In Exodus 34:6, God described himself by saying, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”

Jesus said, “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matt. 5:7).

If you show goodness to the classmate who’s being picked on . . . or the elderly neighbor who needs help with her yard work . . . you are being an example of God’s mercy.

6. God is peace. Another word for “peace” is “order,” or the opposite of confusion. Paul writes that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace . . .” (1 Corinthians 14:33), but “there is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord” (Isaiah 48:22). Peace means a confident rest, a calm understanding that God is in control. We are to do things that bring about order and calm understanding between people. “God blesses those who work for peace,” Jesus said, “for they will be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). Why? Because they are acting like their Heavenly Father.

7. God is righteousness. We don’t often use the word “righteousness” any more, and I know it sounds old fashioned. It’s similar to the word “justice” and it means that God always acts in a way that is right according to his holy standard. In other words, he always does the right thing.

God says, “I, the Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right” (Isaiah 45:19). When we choose to do what is right according to God’s standard, we will be exhibiting God’s holy righteousness.

8. God is holy. Holiness sounds like something we can never be because we’re human and humans sin, right? Yet we can be holy through Jesus Christ. He died to take our sins away, and God forgives us.

The word “holy” means “sinless.” God is holy; he does not sin. We can live holy lives through the power of Jesus Christ. Yes, sometimes Christians sin, but when we do, God is faithful to forgive us when we confess our wrongdoing.

When we lead holy lives—when we do not lie, curse, cheat, complain, gossip, steal, envy, and hate others—people will see that we are reflecting the image of God.

Memory verse: “Everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments” (1 John 5:1-2).

Discussion questions:

1. Why is it more important to have wisdom than knowledge? You can get knowledge in school—how can you get wisdom?

2. Read each situation below, then tell us which quality of God you would choose to display if you were to step in and help:

· A special needs student at your school has dropped a stack of books on the floor between classes. You stop to help. You are displaying God’s . . . what?

· Your teacher asks you why you didn’t finish your homework. The real reason: you forgot. You give her the real reason, and you are displaying God’s . . . what?

· Two of your best friends are fighting over something. You call them together and help them work it out. You are displaying God’s . . . what?

· Some kids at your school are planning to spray paint graffiti on the side of the gym. You say no thanks and try to talk them out of it. You are exhibiting God’s . . . what?

· You bring your mom a bunch of flowers. You are displaying God’s . . . what?

· Your teacher insists that life on this plant began with a single cell and gradually evolved into mankind. You tell her that God created the heavens and the earth. You are displaying God’s . . . what?

· Your best friend belongs to another religion and has never heard about Jesus. You give her the story of the Gospels and invite her to church. You are displaying God’s . . . what?

3. The list of God’s “contagious” qualities isn’t exhaustive—can you think of other qualities God has that we can exhibit in our lives?

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