Monday, December 9, 2013

Merciful Monday: Imitation is Intimate

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. It shows that you think so highly of a person or thing that you want to do what they are doing. I often imitate (or try to imitate) characteristics of people that I think are admirable, like my grandmother’s mild-mannered nature, Martin Luther King Jr.’s will to create social change based on biblical principles, and even my cousin’s boldness in talking to straight up strangers without hesitation. Although I don’t always imitate these characteristics in true form, I try anyway. Sometimes we even imitate people unknowingly, out of habit. I’m starting to realize that I do so many things like my mother! The person that we should imitate above all though is God.

Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Jesus is our mark. He is the person we should strive to be like, the person we should imitate. He is the prime example of love because he sacrificed everything for us, including his life, in order to please God.

But the first step to imitating someone is knowing them and knowing their habits. I always imitate the way that my dad walks when he is in a hurry because I know exactly how he does it. I’ve witnessed and even examined it enough times to know what it looks like and when it will most likely come in to play. I could not have come to this conclusion about my father had I not experienced it on multiple occasions. The same is true of our imitation of God. In order to imitate him, we have to know and experience him! We have to know when he usually shows up and when he usually does not, what makes him angry and what makes him happy, his favorite things, how to develop our relationship with him, where to find him, etc.

A lot of times to imitate something correctly, we have to see it in the light of day. In the darkness it is hard to see a facial expression, hand gesture, or a certain head nod in order to imitate it, but if you see it in the light, it’s much easier. Even with certain characteristics, it is hard to see them when they are hidden. A lot of times people hide things like infidelity for years, so their partners do not realize it until it is reveal as bright as day.  Or you may just not be in the proper environment to notice them. I’m not married but it seems this might explain why lots of husband and wives don’t know their spouse’s habits with things like which side of the bed they wish to sleep on, how hot they like their shower, etc. When characteristics are brought to the light, we see them in their truest form. And as imitators of Christ, we will develop the insight to determine whether they are good or bad, and whether they are things we should also take part in.

Ephesians 5:11-14 says, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. 

Basically, you can never go wrong if you seek to imitate Jesus! You will develop a relationship with him and an uncanny ability to determine good versus bad. 

Merciful Mondays: Jael
For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31

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