Between the Words ... Pastor Jim’s Perspectives on the Weekend Behind and the Week Yet to Come (September 16, 2019)

By Jim Garrett

September 16, 2019

“Doing” versus “Being”

I have recently been reading a book by Brian Rosner entitled, “Known by God: A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity”. In this book, he presents the Biblical thought of the “son being in the image of the Father”. While I had a concept of this, the imagery was deepened for me. Yes, that seems to be only natural that a son should be reared in the image of his father and should pick up and produce many of the traits of that father. But, all of the sudden, as I am reading this, I now see the image of the son (us) being reared in the image (and praxis) of our loving Heavenly Father and following in His traits. All of the sudden, “Be ye holy for I am holy …” (1 Peter 1:16 NASB) comes to a new light. Because we are HIS, we should be taking on the image of Him. While this could present an immediate challenge of trying to ACT in His image, Rosner’s side-bar on p.158 brought a new light with the son saying to the father, “you taught me to BE myself” (emphasis mine). In other words, this IMAGE of God in us is not something that becomes worked up and produced; instead, it BECOMES because it is being grown in us by walking in His footsteps.

The part of this that seemed counterintuitive to me was the concept that many of us would strive to achieve the goal of being in His image. Admittedly, part of this issue is that I am, along with our church elders, simultaneously reading “Gospel Wakefulness” by Jared C. Wilson. In it, he speaks of “doing” versus “being”. I think the issue with me is that Rosner continually iterates that the process of being fathered through adoption WILL PRODUCE likeness, simply through the parapeteo of life. This is great imagery, and IF such semantics have been drilled into one’s mind through study and training, the idea of STRIVING FOR what will eventually be ours anyway seems ultra-counterintuitive.

First, I understand the reasoning many translations make certain phrasings and words gender non-specific. Such understanding certainly applies to huios. However, since ho huios IS masculine in situ, and since I am naturally male, the need was undesired for me. It seems more applicable to me personally that the Heavenly Father Who has adopted me desires and equips me to “follow in His footsteps.” Again, I do not desire to take away from the gender non-specific translation, I simply seek self-application that I can fully relate to. SO, I am compelled to spend more time with Him so that I might learn to walk in His footsteps—so that I might BECOME more like the Heavenly Father.

On a personal note

This weekend at OCF, we celebrated a life well lived through Judy Roth. Judy was in her eighties, had been married for 61 years to Bob and had served Jesus pretty much all her life. To be very honest, I wish that Cheri and I had been able to know Judy sooner. In our knowledge of her, she had been manifesting signs of dementia and was clearly not always of sound mind. But to our understanding, she had always been vibrant and adventurous. In fact, just a few years ago, she had jumped from an airplane in a parachute – just because she could. I can’t exactly produce the word her son used to describe her, but it paralleled the thought of defying the norm or expected.

And so, I walked away from that service challenged. I don’t want to live the norm. I want my wife to think I am God’s gift to her.

I want my children and grandchildren to think their dad/papa is fun.

And I want to hear God say of me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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