Have you ever tried to imitate someone?
When we were in England eight years ago, we went to London so the Beatles fans in the family could see Abbey Road. Then, in typical tourist style, the four men in the family walked across the street, in an apparent attempt to imitate the album cover!
When I look at the picture, I have to smile seeing the totally serious faces of the participants!
In June 2018 I used this same picture in a blog entitled “Who do you imitate?”. Apparently the Lord wants me to reinforce this thought in the blog site! Please refer to that blog for additional thoughts on our duty of imitation.
The Greek definition of the word “imitate” relates to one who mimics or who is an actor. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary, it is noted that the verb “imitate” is always used in exhortations and always in the continuous tense, suggesting a constant habit of practice.
So, do you make it a habit of imitating those Christians who have provided us examples of Christlike actions? Think about these exhortations:
WE SHOULD IMITATE THE CONDUCT OF MISSIONARIES
For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
2 Thessalonians 3:7-9
WE SHOULD IMITATE THE FAITH OF SPIRITUAL GUIDES
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
WE SHOULD IMITATE THAT WHICH IS GOOD
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.
3 John 1:11
God is good, and we should imitate this characteristic of our Heavenly Father. God’s goodness is shown in His benevolence toward us, His creatures. In like manner, we should reflect His goodness. How? We should imitate His goodness in our benevolence to others. This may look different for each of us as we relate to others in our own unique manner, but it should have the same fundamental characteristic – the actions should be for the benefit of the other person without regard to whether they thank us, like us or even know that we did anything for them. Our benevolence is based in God and in our transformation into the likeness of Christ.
Recall when Christ healed the 10 lepers. The story is found in Luke’s gospel.
And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Ten were healed of the dreaded disease leprosy. Ten men went from having to stand outside the city, without family or friends, covering their mouth and crying “Unclean, Unclean”. Ten men went from having no interaction with society to being welcomed home, in the community and at the synagogue. But, only one came back to thank Him.
Scripture says that all ten of the men were healed as they were walking to the synagogue. There is no indication that their healing was reversed when they failed to give thanks.
One said thank you to our Lord.
We, too, are diseased. Oh, not with leprosy but with a disease just as deadly and putrid – sin. Oh that we would have a realistic understanding of how grievous our sin is to God, how God will not look at sinful creatures. He sent His Son to take our sin upon Himself so that we could come to God and become His children, children who God can look upon because what He sees, instead of our sin, is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that has been given to us through the blood of Christ.
May we imitate that one man who turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. May we recognize our sin and thank God through Christ Jesus for wiping it away, for cleansing us, now and forever. Once we are cleansed from our sin, may we imitate our God and Father Who lavishes His benevolence on us. When we give to others, when we help others, when we do for others without their knowledge, we are imitating our Father. Praise His Holy Name.
Father, so often we minimize our sin, saying it was just a ”white lie” or “not as bad as murder” when there is no gradation of “sin”. Disobedience to Your Word is sin, no matter how we may want to characterize it. Thank You for sending Your Son to be our atoning sacrifice that paid for the consequences of our sin. Thank You for calling us to Yourself through the Holy Spirit, and enabling us to imitate Your benevolence to those You place in our world.