Some people have pets that bear remarkable resemblances to their owners.

person resembling pet

One conclusion is that close and continuing contact eventually transforms individual likenesses into similar appearances.

The same thing is often said about husbands and wives. Long-term association seems to bring about physical transformation toward a common likeness.

… but it’s not true.

Similarities between pets, people, husbands, and wives may be remarkable, even amusing, but they aren’t the products of cause and effect. People don’t really take on the appearance of their pets or vice versa. … and the faces of husbands and wives don’t slowly morph toward the appearance of kinship.

Although people sometimes actually choose partners– people and pets– who reflect their own images, most similarities are purely coincidental.

… not so, however, in the spiritual realm. Close associations do beget spiritual transformations.

Prov 27:17 says it this way. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens the face of his friend.”

The point is, for good or ill, we are influenced and transformed by the faces that surround us– by the associations we keep.

…and those associations don’t have to be physical or in person. We are inexorably transformed, not just by family, friends, and close acquaintances, but by the “imagination”– by the “images” that absorb us whether they arrive through books, movies, videos … or email.

One could argue transformation by association is the reason for worship.

In 2 Cor 3:18, Paul puts it this way, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”


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