Imitation is the Sincerest Form…

A famous quote from C. C. Colton, 19th century English cleric and author, says “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”  I see this most pronounced in the antics of a child.  Children love to imitate their parents.  A little girl will dress in mom’s jewelry and high heals.  A little boy will don his dad’s work boots and hat, pretending to go off to work just like dad.  As parents, we are flattered by such behavior.  We find these actions to be cute and adorable.  We, too, should be challenged to examine our lives since our little ones so closely watch and desire to imitate us.  However, my thoughts along these lines run to the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:1-2

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 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.

Imitating God?  That seems like a tall order.  What does that look like?  Well, he answers that question in verse 2…by loving like Jesus loved.

As a child of God, I want to be like my Father.  Jesus showed me how to do this because He also imitated His Father.  He did that by loving…loving sacrificially.  His sacrifice was, in turn, a fragrant offering to His Father.  This was accomplished through his loving care for people, by His speaking of the truth in love…even to the hypocritical Pharisees.  (His words for them were harsh so that they might be shaken out of their religious stupor.  For some it worked [Paul, Nicodemus], for some it didn’t.)  Jesus demonstrated His loving imitation of God by going to the need, by being more concerned with people and less concerned with comfort.  He was willing to get His hands dirty.  He ate with sinners and slept on the ground.  He claimed no place to call home, as He was truly a pilgrim (as we are called to be).  Ultimately, He gave himself as a literal sacrifice.  That is the life of love to which we are called as well.

I must ask myself, “What drives my life?”  Am I living a life of sacrificial love?  Am I more concerned with people and their needs or comfort and material things.  I’m not talking about taking a vow of poverty or moving into a commune, but I am talking about seriously evaluating my priorities and where my heart resides.  I am asking God to show me how to love more like Jesus loves.  I am also asking that He help me to see Jesus in every face I see.  When I look at people from that perspective, I will learn to love them more fully…more sacrificially.  That’s what I need.

Imitating God as His child?  Yes, that is my desire…my goal.  For “Imitation is the sincerest form of [LOVE]!”

How are you loving?  Who are you imitating?  How has God recently loved through you in a significant way?  How have you been a recipient of such love recently?


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