If you are a parent, you will most likely be imitated. Not by your friends, not by your teammates, or your co-workers, but by your number one fans—your children.
Children are very unique in that they are very good imitators. To imitate means to follow, resemble, reflect, or copy someone or something. Children are great receptors and reflectors of information.
Parents are seen as role models and leaders for children. At times it seems that acting is a given talent in children for they impersonate their parents’ style, speech, and behavior well.
So whether or not parents like it, they will be imitated—for positive or negative. Children will reflect the characteristics and attributes of their parents.
Now we who have put our faith and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior have a new identity—we are children of the Living God.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13 ESV).
Again the apostle John reminds us of our new identity:
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).
We are no longer aliens and strangers—we are part of the household and family of the Creator. “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Galatians 3:26). We are His children not by our works, good deeds, or by our own merit but by faith.
So now that we have been transformed by His power and obtained an undeserved standing of honor—children of God—let’s strive to imitate our heavenly Father. Imitating Him will require of us, His children, to live for His glory by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul states it this way: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1). To imitate God, first we must know what He is like—His nature, character, personality, etc.
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:1).
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly”
“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him” (Nahum 1:7).
The Bible portrays God as all-sovereign, all-powerful, and all-knowing. The Bible also shows us that God is good, faithful, kind, compassionate, merciful, loving. So how do we imitate such God?
There are countless ways we can imitate our heavenly Father, here are a few examples:
Love your enemies
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).
When we step out of our comfort zone and move into action, in this case loving our enemies, we will be the difference makers in our world. Loving those whom we love or love us back is easy. Loving those whom we don’t naturally love or love us in return is hard. If and when we love our enemies, we will show others that we are different, unique, and most importantly children of God by imitating His unconditional love.
“Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7).
“If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him” (1 John 2:29).
“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10).
Be Driven by Mercy, Compassion, and Service
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed” (Proverbs 19:17).
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
In the kingdom of God greatness is displayed by humility, self-sacrifice, service, unselfishness, and unconditional love. We must take up our cross, deny ourselves, and live to please him. What does your life reflect?
Who do you imitate?
When others see our lives, what do they see? Does our walk, speech, conduct, and way of living reflect God and His love? Is our life characterized by godly motives and desires? Do we point others to Jesus? Or is it the complete opposite?
When others see our lives, are they furthered away from the truth? Unfortunately, the latter is most common lifestyle in the church of Christ today. For some reason people like to imitate celebrities, actors, athletes and other famous stars. These people may have money, power, and fame but they don’t have the true source of life—Jesus Christ.
Their lives are characterized by sin, pride, selfishness, and individualism. Lets not be deceived. The Bible says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12).
The fact of the matter is that following and imitating such people is a waste of our time, money, and energy. Imitating people rather than God is not going to help us grow and mature spiritually.
We have changed God for mere creatures, resulting in idolatry. This will ultimately prevent us to fulfill our calling and purpose in the overall mission of God.
Lets start today to imitate God, our heavenly Father, and live for His glory. Jesus Christ is our one and only true leader and role model worthy to be reflected, resembled, obeyed, and followed.
We are His children, its time to change our lifestyle and be instruments in His hands to carry out His message of peace, hope, and love. May we be imitators of God.
Awaiting His Return,