Photo Courtesy of KickstandsUpSignCo
On Halloween night, countless kids will be dressed up in costume s doing their best to imitate their favorite cartoon character, super hero, etc. If they’ve done a good job, we will be able to recognize at a glance exactly who they are imitating.
But Halloween isn’t just for kids. Grown-ups are increasingly dressing up as their favorite TV, movie, and sports personalities—and doing so quite impressively. So when we see a tall, skinny man, dressed in a crushed velvet suit with a top hat and a cane we instantly recognize him as Willy Wonka from the chocolate factory. Why? The reason he was so recognizable was he devoted himself to learning what Willy Wonka looks like--then went out and got an identical hat, cane, and purple crushed velvet suit, so when people saw him they instantly recognized him as Willy Wonka.
Photo Courtesy of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
It wouldn’t have been enough just to wear any old top hat and suit—and grab any old cane. The top hat, suit, and cane combo could make us think of a variety of people. We might think of Fred Astaire in Top Hat, Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, or Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka. They all use a top hat, suit, and a cane in their dress, but their characters are so different and imitating them would require carefully study to correctly imitate one of those particular characters.
But being imitators is not reserved for people on Halloween or actors in Hollywood. As Christians we are to be imitators of God, by putting on Christ, 365 days of the year. (Rom. 13:14) As people who profess to be Believers, it is so important we correctly represent the Lord Jesus to the people around us. So how do we be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1)? While it is good to ask "What would Jesus do?” the best way to imitate God is to devote ourselves to knowing God.
The best way we are going to learn who the Lord is so we can effectively reflect Him to the people around us on a daily basis is by familiarizing ourselves with what the Word reveals about Him. No one can properly imitate someone they know for the most part. Professional imitators, who imitate celebrities and such, devote themselves to learning everything they can about the person they are imitating and then they rehearse over and over--always seeking to imitate the person better than before. As my pastor once said, "If that is how one man imitates another man, how much more ought we to go to such lengths to imitate God?"
May we be like actors, who pour over their scripts to perfect their character, and pour over Scripture meditating on it, memorizing it, praying through it, and studying it so when people see us, rather than us, they would see Jesus, Just as a professional imitator will never perfectly imitate a celebrity, but will get impressively close, we are not always going to perfectly reflect Jesus on this side of heaven. However, like the professional imitators, by God’s Spirit we can get awfully close if we pour ourselves into knowing the Lord, through His Word, and ask God to reveal Himself to us so we may correctly represent Him to the people He puts in our path and they, in turn, would be drawn to Christ.
To be imitators of God, Scripture sums up how to do so this way, " But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." (Romans 13:14) To help you get a more specific idea of what it means to put on Jesus, here is an excellent list of what to put off (the things of the flesh) and what to put on (the things of Jesus) as you imitate the Lord. God bless you abundantly!
Question for you: When you consider our calling to be imitators of God, what characteristics of God do you imagine would be something we ought to imitate?
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Copyright © 2013 Brooke Espinoza.