Have you ever tried to put together a complicated product – a bicycle, for example, or unassembled furniture – only to admit you can’t figure it out yourself and must follow the enclosed instruction manual? Our lives, of course, are even more complicated. Thankfully, there is an instruction manual that teaches us how to successfully live a life that pleases our Father. God’s Word teaches us that “The fear of the Lord” – in other words, reverence and respect for him – “is the beginning of knowledge.” In fact, the wisdom we need for our lives comes directly from the Lord himself, for “from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 1:7 and 2:6).
God is our teacher; his Word is our instruction manual and the goal is for us to become like him. But it’s not like God is making duplicate copies of himself. Each of us is uniquely made. Just as we see a strong family resemblance among siblings in a family, God wants each of us to spiritually grow to look like him.
So what does God look like? Psalm 103:8-14 beautifully describes God as being compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, not treating us as our sins deserve but instead removing them. He wants us to have these same qualities – loving others, having empathy, not holding grudges or criticizing but instead being merciful and forgiving.
How do you become like someone else? How do we become like God? It is said that people begin to look like those with whom they spend the most time. So spend time with God. As we pray, read the Scriptures and see the mighty works that God has done for his children – parting the Red Sea, providing manna to eat in the desert – it forces us to realize how God has acted on our behalf. He has forgiven our sin, delivered us from death and blessed our lives repeatedly.
Throughout the Bible, God calls us to remember. As we remember what God has done, as we reflect on his character, we are driven to a point of decision: What are we going to do with this knowledge? How are we to react to God’s mercy and kindness toward us? This knowledge leads us to a crisis of decision. For those who yield to God, it leads to faith and obedience that daily call out to him, “Father, make me like you.”