If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (ESV) 1 John 2:29
You’ve heard the expression, “She’s the spitting image of her mother” or “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” or “he’s a chip off the old block.” We have many ways of saying kids are like their parents. This is John’s point. If you practice righteousness you have a righteous father.
Last week in Africa I met Nazir. He is 4 years old, the son of Pastor Cheikhna and Esther and full of life. Like all the African kids who approach me, Nazir was fascinated with the hair on my arms. No lie! We didn’t speak the same language–he speaks Wolof, I don’t. But we communicated. I don’t know why, but one day when he was sitting on my lap and I held him up where he could see my face and said, “Nazir, say what’s up!” He did! And it sounded every bit as southern as a North Carolinian. The next day when I showed up in the village he looked at me and said, “Wassup?” I cracked up! We had to record it!
Here’s the reality. He didn’t say “Wassup?” because he’s my son–he said it because I taught him how to say it. He may soon forget it (I sure hope not!). However, if you want to know why Nazir has his winning personality, his wonderful sense of humor, his bright smile, just watch his mother, Esther. She is all of the above. You might say that Nazir is a spitting image of his mother, or a chip off the old block. The apple certainly doesn’t fall far from the tree.
So it is with us. When you do something righteous today, it isn’t necessarily learned behavior. You have been born of the righteous one. We often forget this. When we received Christ, we were born into a new family. We got a new Father and a new nature. It is now “natural” for us to practice righteousness. As a matter of fact, if you’re not practicing righteousness you haven’t been born of him!