Society looks for us to imitate others in how we act, what we wear, how we spend our money and time, and much more. Such choices, however, may bring anxiety, unhappiness, and other negative feelings. Conversely, followers of Christ who choose to imitate Him first and above all, are assured of His incomparable peace and joy.
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
My puppy followed me everywhere. When I lay down, she did also. When I ate, she had to eat. When I strapped my snowshoes on and walked the snowy path behind my house, she followed. Sometimes, however, she grew tired and tried hitching a ride on the back of my snowshoes.
Young children also tend to follow others, including their parents who teach them good manners, good work ethics, or plain common sense. Some followers, however, in imitating their leaders, take on bad habits that can bring grief, unhappiness, irresponsible actions, or unhealthy emotions.
The Bible stresses the need to follow Jesus, the perfect example of everything good. The word Follow means, in the Greek language, to be in the same way as. In other words, to imitate. During the 1400s, Thomas Hemerken, of Kempen, Germany, began to follow Jesus during his young adult life. Known as Thomas a Kempis, he wrote “The Imitation of Christ,” today renowned as one of the greatest devotional classics of all time. It became popular because of its challenges to the reader to deny themselves and embrace humility and love for God. The book includes these words:
“Strive to turn your heart from loving things that are seen, and to set it upon things that are not seen. … We must not trust every word of others or feeling within ourselves, but cautiously and patiently try the matter, whether it be of God. The more humble a man is in himself, and the more obedient toward God, the wiser will he be in all things, and the more shall his soul be at peace.”
Although the word Imitate does not appear in the Bible, Paul’s New Testament letters allude to imitating Christ in all that we think, say, and do. “You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side. Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth. You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God.” (Colossians 3:1-3 Contemporary English Version)
Only Christ is fully worthy of imitation. Everyone else, everything else will eventually fall short or fall away. How do we imitate Him? By receiving Him and His ways into our lives. By submitting to His Word and Spirit rather than to those around us. As His twelve disciples and countless others have followed Him, we, too, then can be assured of receiving His untold promises of His love, peace of mind, joy, and much more.
Lord thank You for Your Word and Spirit. Cause us to become in the same way as You, to imitate You in all that we do. In Jesus’ name, amen.