Yesterday afternoon, after playing with Seth in the garden for a while, we sat down and ate some chips together. This will be a moment I will always remember as there was something special about just sitting together, sharing some chips, and being in each other’s company. While snacking, I noticed Seth start leaning backwards in a relaxed manner on the step we were sitting on. This is something which I hadn’t seen him do before and I then realized that I was leaning back in the same way. My son was imitating what I was doing and this was such an amazing reminder of the fact that we imitate the ones we love or admire.
But imitating the ones we love or admire is not always beneficial to us. I am an avid YouTube viewer and there are certain people that I watch on a daily/weekly basis. One day while having a conversation with a close friend, I ended up responding to something he said with words that were not my own. I used nearly the exact response of someone who is known to be controversial and I realized that I was now imitating this person to my detriment.
While I didn’t say anything offensive I responded in a manner that was not normal for me (which I could tell based on my friends expression to hearing these words). In that moment I realized what had happened and later that week I unsubscribed from this person’s channel and made a concerted effort not to be influenced in the same way again.
While imitating others can sometimes be detrimental there is someone who exists who is only beneficial for us to imitate and His name is Jesus. In Ephesians 5:1-2 Paul writes the following:
1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, 2 and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
We can only find benefit from imitating Jesus as He shows us how to live in the way in which humans were designed to live. And when we strive to imitate Jesus this is also a way in which we can know that our faith in Him is authentic:
3 This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: 6 The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked – 1 John 2:3-6.
Just as a child imitates their parents so should we be childlike in our faith and imitate our incredible God.