Have you ever noticed what amazing imitators actors are? They can watch the way a person acts or talks and then mimic them. Good actors can sound and look just like the person they are representing. It is a remarkable talent!
In the same way, God wants us to imitate His Son. We can’t see Jesus, but we can come to know Him by studying God’s Word. Only then can we talk like Him and act like Him so that when people see us, they will see what Jesus is like.
The Apostle Paul practiced this in his life. He wrote:
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV)
Paul went even a step further. He wrote:
“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9 NKJV)
This is the mark of a true leader. A good leader will always lead by example, so that others will observe how he is acting and do the same thing. Paul acted like Jesus, and he expected others to act just like him. He talked about the Kingdom of God, he loved others and served them just like Jesus did. He wanted people to see Christ in him. Then he expected them to imitate his example!
Jesus practiced this kind of leadership. He wanted His disciples to copy His example. For instance, when He washed His disciples’ feet, He explained why He did it:
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:15 NKJV)
A good leader will duplicate himself in those who follow him. Jesus was a good leader. He said:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 NKJV)
Jesus trained His disciples to imitate what He did. First He taught them to love others as He did. He said:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, love one another.” (John 13:34 NKJV)
He also taught them to preach the Gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons, in the same manner as He did. He wanted them to be just like Him!
As a parent, we want our children to grow up and be like us. We want them to be responsible and caring in the same way we are. As parents, we know that little eyes are watching us all the time. Our children don’t always do the things we tell them to do, but they will often copy what they see us do. This is also true in the family of God. That is why we need to be godly examples to those around us!
Our heavenly Father is no different. He wants us to be just like Him. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote:
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” (Ephesians 5:1 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul had a spiritual son, named Timothy. He took him under his wing as a young man and brought him along on his apostolic journeys. He showed him how to preach the Gospel, and he expected him to follow in his steps. In other words, he wanted him to imitate what he did. A good disciple will always act just like his teacher! In the same way, Paul expected Timothy to be a good example just as he was. He wrote:
“Let no one despise your youth, BUT BE AN EXAMPLE TO THE BELIEVERS in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV, emphasis mine.)
Paul did not want Timothy to act like him, but act like the One he represented. He wanted him to act like Christ!
If we are living the life of a Christian, then everyone around us is watching to see how we live that life. If they like what they see, they will want to be just like us. That is the greatest witness we can be for Christ!
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men.” (2 Corinthians 3:2 NKJV)
We may be the only Bible people ever read! As they watch our lives, they need to see Jesus. The way we talk and the way we act toward others tells them exactly how much Christ loves them. This means that all of us are witnesses for Christ. We are either a good witness or a bad one. We want to be a good witness, so that people will want to be just like us. We want them to imitate Christ in us!
You are holy, dear saint!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]