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 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. – 1 John 3:1-7

My dad’s 59th birthday was last week. When I called to wish him a happy birthday, he told me that he was stopping at 59 because 60 sounded too old (classic dad joke). Since I turned 30 back in January, I’ve done a lot of reflecting over my first three decades of life. My thoughts often turn back to the way my dad raised me and how he communicated to me the importance of growing up to be a godly man of character. It certainly wasn’t always a fun lesson to learn. My upbringing involved a lot of hard work that I didn’t want to do, a lot of squirming in church pews that I didn’t want to sit in, and a lot disciplining that I wanted to avoid. In all of this, though, I’ve come to realize that my dad always acted out of love for me and a desire to see me become the best man of God I could be. I now find myself acting and talking very much like my dad and looking forward to passing on the lessons I learned from him to my own children someday.

In our scripture reading for today, John tells us that God is our loving Father who has graced us with privilege of being called His children. What an amazing gift that the creator of the universe would allow broken, rebellious people like us to be called His daughters and sons! However, being a child of God is not a cheap title, because it requires that we be transformed for our old, sinful ways into the holy life that has been prepared for us. Although we’ll never fully live into the purity that God desires for us on this side of eternity, we have faith that when Christ returns “we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” That eternal hope gives us the courage to endure all of life’s challenges knowing that God is using them to make us more like Jesus!