Certain things are inevitable. The sun will rise in the morning. Even the hardest heart will cry listening to the song “The Christmas Shoes.” Young men will drink milk from the jug. And sons will become their fathers. While this last inevitability is strongly declared against and resisted as sons move from boyhood to manhood, it is already deep in the heart of a son to be like his father. But is this a bad thing?
Scripture encourages us to “imitate God as dearly loved children.” But it also warns us against following our earthly fathers uncritically when it declares that “the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children.” To Christian fathers this challenges us to be fathers worth imitating,whose life is being conformed to the one we profess to follow. Paul summed it up as he wrote, “follow me as I follow Christ.”
The early French Reformer, Jacque LeFevere d’Estaples, coined a term to describe this fundamental aspect of Christian life – Christiformity. Christiformity is conformity to, or transformation into, the likeness of Christ from the inside out. More than the mere imitation of Christ in our outward habits and actions, Christiformity speaks of a transformation of the heart, mind, soul and strength. Paul expressed this concern for his Galatian friends this way, ”my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!”
We see an example of Christiformity in Joseph, the husband of Mary and adoptive father of Jesus. In a remarkable turnabout, we see a picture of a father conforming his life to the son. Though the Bible gives little back story on Joseph, in every account of him, he sets aside his own feelings, plans and ambitions in order to conform his heart, mind, soul and strength to the protection and care of the Lord Jesus. We see this in Joseph’s deliberations regarding Mary and in his careful obedience to God’s step by step direction at every salient point in his leadership of the family. Like father like son is the maxim, yet in Joseph’s case it is like son, like father. Joseph gives an example of Christiformity. Is this a word that characterizes your Christian life?
Join us this Lord’s Day, January 7, as we examine Matthew 2:13-23, the flight of Joseph, Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape the wrath of a jealous tyrant. And in the midst of this familiar story, we consider the call to Christiformity. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions. Come with a friend you and join us for fellowship and conversation. We look forward to seeing you there.