Who do you imitate?
And don’t say, “nobody,” because we all imitate someone or something. It’s something we all learn as children when we want to be like daddy or mommy. Then there are the typical stints as firemen and dancers, sports figures and talk show hosts. The list is endless.
But then something strange happens. We move from conscious imitation to subconscious imitation and this transition, if we are not careful, can ruin us. Oh, and I’m not talking about waking up one day and discovering that you are just like your parents—everyone experiences some of that. No, I’m talking about waking up one day and realizing you threw your life away on meaningless pursuits when God had so much more in mind for you. And when this happens in the twilight of our lives we wonder how this “change” just seemed to come out of left field—”all of the sudden.”
It wasn’t all of the sudden. It was purposeful, practiced, habitual and pretty much guaranteed by the choices and decisions we made from our earliest days. Some of them innocent enough, but damaging nonetheless.
Think about it. Because it doesn’t have to be this way.
Teenagers model the clothes, street talk and values of pop culture. Yuppies absorb their corporate climate and subconsciously (or, consciously) imitate their leaders. But the apostle Paul taught us that the only surefire example to follow is that of Christ Jesus. We should first and foremost imitate God…
Eph. 5:1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.
But, at the very least, imitate those who are effectively imitating Him,
I Cor. 11:1, And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
2 Thess. 3:7, For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you
Hebrews 13:7, Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Hebrews 6:12, We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
First, look to Jesus. Imitate His compassion, His love for the unlovely and unlovable. Imitate His boldness to speak the truth in love, no matter where the chips fell. Imitate His faith for the miraculous. Imitate His complete obedience to and reliance upon His heavenly Father.
But if for whatever reason that’s too hard. Start by imitating those who follow Him most authentically—the ones who are modeling Him right before your very eyes.
Imitation can have good results. It just depends on who you are imitating. Jesus says that all who wish to be like Him can and will if they live in obedience to His Word.
Know what that says to me?
That a life lived in obedience to Jesus Christ has a one hundred percent chance of being a life that counts for all eternity! I’ll take that chance any day! Those seem to be great odds IMHO.
Nevertheless, it’s simply amazing how many millions of people spend their wonder years imitating someone or something that they have little or no shot of becoming. If that’s you, it may be time to reacess who and what you imitate. I mean, can I be blunt for a moment?
On the one hand, God promises that we can be like Him. On the other, what are the chances you will ever really, “Be Like Mike?”