THE WORD: ‘We are the offspring of God’
Earlier this month in The Herald’s Devotional column, the Rev. Dale Brown wrote thoughtfully about the image of God, testifying that “Jesus is what God looks like.”
This certainly accords with what Jesus taught: “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also … he that hath seen me hath seen the father” (John 14:7, 9).
From some of the earliest verses in the Bible, we know that we are all created in God’s image, male and female. (See Genesis 1:26-27.) In the New Testament, Paul taught powerfully on Mars’ Hill: “we are the offspring of God” (Acts 17:29). In other words, God is the father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9). God is our Eternal Father, and we are His children. We know that God created this world and the entire universe for us through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2).
Realizing that we have a Father who cares for us motivates us to call on Him through the portal of prayer. Just as earthly fathers long for children to call and check in regularly, our Heavenly Father also awaits our sincere supplication. Understanding the father-child relationship we have with God also helps us begin to comprehend the often-difficult pathway of life. One of the purposes of this mortal experience is to show our love for Him by keeping His commandments (John 14:15), even when it isn’t easy to do so.
The knowledge of our Father’s tender watch care provides comfort and stability when clouds infringe on the blue sky of our lives. Knowing that we are all children of God inspires greater love and understanding, deeper caring and compassion, for our fellow brothers and sisters. With eyes of faith, we begin to see others as God sees them, as eternal beings with divine heritage and infinite potential.
In A Lesson Before Dying, Grant Wiggins attempts to teach wrongfully convicted Jefferson how to face his looming death sentence with dignity. Though Grant feels his efforts were largely unsuccessful, he finds this touching statement in Jefferson’s diary: “You been so good to me … nobody never been that good to me an make me think I’m somebody.”
Jefferson’s statement is reminiscent of the way God feels toward us, His children. To him, we are each not only somebody, but somebody worth saving — somebody worth sending his Only Begotten Son to live and die for (John 3:16).
As children of God, do we carry that image of God in our countenances? When people associate with us, do they see in our faces the pure love that they would see if they looked into the eyes of our Heavenly Father? As we bow our heads this Thanksgiving, may we each express gratitude for a loving Father and a compassionate Savior, who have made it possible for us to rise above common concerns and set our sights on the things of eternity.
BRENT ROBERTS is the Branch Presidency First Counselor in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.