Growing Like Jesus to be Like Jesus
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Students who are loved at home, come to school to learn, and students who aren’t, come to school to be loved. Nicholas A. Ferroni

There is no true education, growth or maturity without love. On my first day of Kindergarten, way back in the mid 1900’s, I was given a red badge to wear, which meant I belonged to the red group and would be doing activities with the kids in my group. That red badge did more than tell me where I was supposed to be. It gave me a sense of belonging. That was my first step towards education – a sense of belonging.

Red Tag

People who visit your Sabbath School class for the first time may be grown-ups telling you they are just “checking this class out” or “wanting to learn more about what the Bible teaches,” but truth is that their learning system is no different than Kindergarten kids. They are looking for belonging. Sure they want to learn, but what they want more than anything else is to be loved and to belong. Most people will not settle into a learning environment until they are sure they belong.

Universities don’t send out approval letters. They send out “acceptance” letters. The college scholar jumps up and down with delight when they get their “acceptance” letter in the mail, just like I did in Kindergarten when I got my red badge. Acceptance is a life-long journey. I don’t mean that it should take a lifetime to become accepted. I mean that “acceptance” is the name of the vehicle that will get you through life.

Jesus in His humanity needed acceptance in order to grow as a child.

 “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49 NLT

Jesus shone in His interview with the religious leaders because He knew He belonged somewhere, and He knew where it was. Jesus had a sense of belonging. This is what enabled Him to grow and be educated, and that is what enables us to learn and grow as well.

1. Jesus learned the Scriptures as a Child 

Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did. As we try to become acquainted with our heavenly Father through His word, angels will draw near, our minds will be strengthened, our characters will be elevated and refined. We shall become more like our Saviour. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 70

Children can do likewise today.

You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:15 NLT

2. Jesus’ prayer life gave Him acceptance and wisdom.

One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. Luke 6:12 NLT

And so it may be with us.

Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT

3. Jesus elevated His thoughts towards noble themes.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT

Jesus can help us do likewise.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.Philppians 2:5 NLT

4. Jesus kept busy with his vocation and avoided Satan’s idle temptations. 

  Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, Mark 6:3 NLT

We are counselled to do likewise.

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT

5. Jesus spent no aimless hours with corrupting associates, thus closing the door to temptation.

In His industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptation. No aimless hours opened the way for corrupting associations. So far as possible, He closed the door to the tempter. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 72

Jesus encouraged us to do likewise.

And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13 NLT

Jesus was able to grow in wisdom and moral stature knowing that He belonged to God and God’s true people.

Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. Luke 2:52 NLT

As He grew He never lost his need of knowing He was accepted by the Father.

“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” John 20:17 NLT

Right after the resurrection Jesus needed His Father’s acceptance, just like when He was in the temple as a boy. He accomplished what He did, knowing He belonged to “My God.”  Likewise I needed a sense of acceptance and belonging when I received my red badge in kindergarten and later my acceptance letter to Southern Adventist University. Likewise, those in your Sabbath School class will grow and learn, when they know they are accepted and belong.

Let us pray that as Sabbath School visitors experience acceptance and belonging in our Sabbath School classes, it will help them to experience acceptance and belonging in God’s Kingdom.

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Growing Like Jesus to be Like Jesus — 6 Comments

  1. I have hard time accepting my kids the way they are. I remember that I was worse at the age of 18 and 20 but I don't want them to repeat my mistakes and waist time and energy in a life that ultimately does not bring happiness. Pray for me to be able to show them love and acceptance no matter how sad I feel inside. Thanks for this post brother. I see that my children need acceptance more than anything right now.

    Like(18)
    • I think that God shows you himself when you go through trials because of your children. God's love and acceptance of us is unconditional, he says that nothing we could ever do will separate us from his love. He gives us his word and the Holy Spirit to help guide us during our journey in life. He teaches us the way we should go because he created us and he knows the purpose that he created us for, however, we insist on doing things our way. Sometimes the outcome is terrible and we have to suffer the consequences. When our children chooses to venture off course and go their own way against our recommendations, it gives us a clearer understanding of how God feels when we don't listen to him. It hurts!!

      Like(4)
  2. I enjoyed this study and believe that we should love unconditionally. It is important to our mental health to be and feel accepted.

    One correction - the text you gave is Luke 2:52 not 6:52.

    Like(3)
  3. There is a difference between accepting your kids and accepting what they do....God accepts us and draws us to His Son so we can accept Him...this acceptance of Him and the revelation of His goodness leads us to repent of those actions, thoughts and attitudes that God doesn't accept, as Romans 2:4 also tells us, His goodness leads us to repentance.

    Like(11)
  4. Love is a requirement for learning? I believe that many times, love today is misconstrued inside a liberal viewpoint that rejects the very idea of discipline and duty and therefor has created the place where freedom itself becomes a misnomer due to the feelings that replace action. Even and perhaps especially freedom IN Christ. Freedom of any kind is not a right nor is learning. Freedom like salvation makes a requirement of us and thus is a result. There is a cost. Is there little learning without the love of discipline which is now somehow taboo.

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