Recently I happened to see the picture of a ‘so called’ Christian believer in a social media account with a stylish haircut and beard similar to a famous sports personality with a caption- “Love of my life.” But immediately this question came to my mind- who are we imitating? Who are you imitating? To answer this question, one needs to look at their own mobile phones, i Pad, computer, social media accounts and see what one is watching, uploading or the kinds of interactions to find whom we are imitating. Are you imitating the world, the stars of this world, the fashions of this world and everything about this world? If you are, then you are doing this because you love the world and you are of the world.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:6 we see, Paul said he knew the people had become Christians because they were imitating the Lord and those who were Christians, in spite of a great deal of suffering. In today’s time, are Christians worth imitating? It is getting such a heart breaking thing for me to see; even among the many church going people, the word of God is not making its way down to anything in their heart. It is not changing the way of their walk with the Lord, it is not changing their speech, and it is not changing their life style from the world. I think these people are trying to make a new definition of Christianity but what we need is a true demonstration of Christianity and that is possible only through imitating Jesus Christ.
Who are we imitating? I don’t care which church you belong to, if you still look like the world. The question is who are you imitating? Even some of the church going Christians needs to answer this. Are we not trying to look like a cleaner version of the ungodliness that surrounds us? We, as Christians are not relevant to this world because we also look like the world. If, we also go with stylish haircut, cool glasses, skinny jeans and a tattoo; that does not make us any different from this world. But if we are a man and a woman who are renewed and transformed in our mind by the power of God and His word; then we become imitators of God.
Having received God’s word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, are you walking with the Lord or are you filled with the carnality and worldliness? If that is the case, you cannot be a Christian and serve the Lord. We need to become an example for the world. In all that we do, we are to display the love of Jesus. It is this love that enables all our actions to be the true imitations of our Lord. Our love for Jesus must begin as something that no external circumstances can overcome, then grow in to constant communion with Jesus and finally find fulfillment exclusively in Christ.
We as Christians are called to be imitators of God. Ephesians 5:1 says “be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children…” Paul puts it here flatly, bluntly and openly that “be imitators of God.” This verse discusses how believers are to be imitators of God with a particular focus on the love of Christ. Paul uses a commanding tone here: the phrase “be imitators” is an imperative. How does one imitate God? We need to live a life of sacrificial Christ-like love. We should also shine the light of Christ into the darkness and expose the actions of darkness as they really are. Be wise and make the most of every opportunity. Look for ways to allow the light of Christ to shine into the dark world around us. Do not foolishly follow the ways of the world and its wisdom.
When parents love their children, it is only natural for their children to want to be like their parents. Here we see Paul is telling us that we are dearly loved children. So it should be our natural response to be like our heavenly father. That example is given to us in the life of Jesus. He exemplified it in everything He said and did. When we imitate Jesus, we live out the very character of Jesus. Let us be imitators of Jesus today. To imitate Jesus, one must know Jesus. Those who know Jesus desires to imitate Him. We need to imitate Jesus Christ in our lives and need to grow in a living relationship with Him by knowing Him, by drawing close to Him, by understanding His voice, His character and His will; seeking to be like Him and being obedient to Him. If we do not imitate the Lord, all our actions- no matter how impressive or persuasive- will amount to nothing. The motivations behind our actions will determine whether we are truly imitating or simply copying Jesus. 1 Peter 2:21, (NIV) says “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.” God wants us to become like Jesus and Jesus Himself tells us to follow His example.