The Opposite of Sibling Rivalry

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.—Romans 8:29 (NIV)

“Why can’t you be more like your brother?”

Many a frustrated parent has uttered those words to a child in the hopes of getting them to model good behavior. Unfortunately, that question—however well-intentioned—can pierce the hearts of our kids and make them feel like they will never measure up to their siblings. Further, it may lead to lingering feelings of resentment or bitterness in the family. Aren’t you thankful that God never compares us with our earthly brothers and sisters in His family?

However, there is one brother God wants us to model, and His name is Jesus. In today’s verse, Paul notes that Christ is “the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.” In other words, in God’s family, Jesus is everyone’s older brother—and he’s the best sibling anyone could ever ask for!

Next to Jesus, though, all of us fall way short of perfection (Romans 3:23) and look pretty bad (an understatement of epic proportions). But there’s no reason to feel ashamed! Hebrews 2:11 (NIV) says, “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”

Did you catch that? Jesus is not embarrassed to call you his sibling!

You see, in spite of the sinful condition in which we were adopted into the family of God, our heavenly Father had a plan all along to shape us into who He wants us to be. Both Romans 8:29 and Hebrews 2:11 confirm the same fact: When you are part of God’s family, He will make you look more like your big brother, Jesus.

I find great comfort in the fact that God is in control of the process of shaping us like the only perfect sibling to ever live. In fact, Paul tells the Philippians they can be confident that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

While we’ll never reach perfection here on earth, the apostle John tells us of a day that’s coming when we will: “Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 NIV).

DIG: Have you ever been compared to someone else and felt inadequate or ashamed of who you are? Your big brother, Jesus, wants you to know He’s not ashamed of you and loves you so much that He’s in the process of making you more like Him.

DISCOVER: Which of your character traits do you feel God wants to reshape to look more like Jesus?

DISPLAY: As God continues to sanctify you, rest in the knowledge that He is faithful to complete the process of growing you and maturing you so that you can be made whole and holy just like your brother, Jesus.​​​​​​

About the Author

Rob Nieminen

Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.