Imitate the Best
Our interests are as unique as we are! Our daughter loved to watch me prepare meals and experiment with some of her own ideas. Today, she is an amazing cook and is constantly creating new recipes. Our son, Drew, spent many hours practicing Tai Kwan Do and became a black belt in his early teen years. Our youngest son, Joshua, enjoyed team sports and particularly liked going to see a Major League baseball game with his dad as they discussed the many facets of the game. Yesterday, I watched a little boy on the beach as he learned to surf by observing his big brother. Our friend’s son watches golf on TV because he happens to enjoy that particular sport a great deal. What is the common factor? One of the best ways to learn a skill is to watch another who is proficient and imitate their methods!
If we want to be good at something, we might do research, take lessons, and start practicing in order to increase our skill level. Oftentimes, it would appear that it is laziness that interferes with success as the regular practice is uncomfortable or inconvenient. Or, perhaps an arrogant attitude is the culprit as an individual recognizes the work required but believes they are the exception and can achieve success without extreme effort. But, unless that person has some kind of unusual, raw talent, practice is essential to achieve success. But, one thing that seems to be universal is that we closely watch those who are the best in our area of interest.
We are called to “be imitators of God” in the first verse of Ephesians 5. In order to imitate God we must learn all that we can about the character of God. We can do that as we study the Old and New Testaments and we can read about the life of Jesus and learn the many ways he loved his heavenly Father and the people he interacted with daily. But we are often hindered in these efforts by our own lazy or arrogant ways. We are instructed in the Bible to reshape our attitudes and understand that this begins in the mind. What we think about absolutely affects how we act! And, what we think about is influenced by who we watch! It seems we are not always so willing to give up those areas of concealed sin.
Specifically, we must analyze what we put into our minds and evaluate how it affects our behavior. We need to consider what we watch and hear on TV, at the movies, on the radio, and among the people we hang out with daily. It is a lie to believe we can fill our minds with unwholesomeness and expect God-honoring thought, words, and actions to result. We will imitate what we study. If we study just a little bit of unrighteousness, then maybe the output in our lives will be minimal. Is that really OK? Ephesians 5: 3-6 seems to say otherwise as it states “there must not even be a hint” of un-holiness in our lives. We must understand that we have been called to a higher level of living. No matter how uncomfortable it is to be different from the world, that is exactly what we are commanded to do. If
we want to get better at living our faith with passion in this world, then we must learn from the best. We must imitate the lifestyle of Jesus!
Recommended reading: The book of Ephesians (this blog focused on chapters 4 & 5)