"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2
Our struggle as Christians is to be Christ-like, is it not? I know I struggle daily to live the kind of life that honors God. I am tested every day by circumstances that sometimes make it feel like everything is against me, and moment by moment I am tempted by my old sin nature, by lust, greed, dishonesty, selfishness, unfaithfulness, and most any other kind of bad thing that leads nowhere except away from the presence of God in my life. I'm continually tested and constantly tempted, and I consistently fail, I'm sad to say. Not always, but regularly.
But this verse grants the victory in Christ: We shall be like him.
I shall be like him. That's the promise. I don't know yet exactly how that's going to look, but nevertheless, I will be like Jesus. All the stupid stuff I've ever done will be gone, burned off in the Refiner's fire, and all that will be left of me is Jesus. Every bad decision I've ever made will be gone for good. Every missed opportunity to do something worthwhile will no longer haunt me. I will be free. I will be like him.
We were on vacation one year when my kids were quite young. My son was probably about four years old, and since our little car was packed from stem to stern, he was smushed between his little sister's car seat and a couple of sleeping bags in the middle of the back seat where I had a clear view of him in my rear-view mirror.
I think we were somewhere near Joplin, Missouri, when I happened to notice that my beloved firstborn son, the fruit of my loin, was using his right index finger to scour out the inside of his left nostril. After a moment of concentrated digging, he produced a rubbery black booger which he proceeded to roll between his fingers and then, much to my chagrin, he popped the little ball of dried snot into his mouth, chewed a moment and swallowed.
Once my stomach stopped lurching, I reminded him that he shouldn't be putting things in his mouth . . . especially things that used to be inside of his nose. Of course, he already knew that, and when he realized that I had seen him, he cried. I felt bad, and so did he, but we moved on and finished our vacation and had a lot of fun. I'll admit that I stopped looking in the rear-view mirror.
My point is this: I loved my son, even if he ate boogers. It disgusted me, but I still loved him. I knew that day, though, that he would eventually grow out of that particularly revolting behavior, and that he would eventually mature into a man. Here we are more than 25 years later, and I am confident that my son no longer eats his boogers, and I still love him.
I think it's just a little bit like that with our Father God. Oh, he hates our sin, no doubt about it - it disgusts him. But he loves us anyway and because he has provided the victory in Christ, he knows that we will eventually become what he wants us to be - to be like Jesus. Our booger eating days will be behind us, we will be perfect in Christ, and we will see the Father face to face. Until that day, God is willing to love us in spite of the stupid stuff we do because he knows what we will become.
Father, thank you for loving me so much even when the things I do disgust you. Be with me today and help me to remember who I am - your beloved child; and who I will be - perfect in Christ. Help me to grow daily, for as long as you give me life here on this old earth, into that person you have planned for me to be - mature and Christ-like. Oh, and if my son is still eating his boogers, help me to never see it in my rear-view mirror - I don't want to know about it. I love you, Father.