Beware of Imitations?

By 24 October 2016June 23rd, 2020No Comments

About 2 months ago I began developing lower back pain. As a result, I went onto Youtube to find out how to do back stretches and build muscle in my lower back. There was one particular channel that I found to be very helpful, with a young energetic trainer guiding it’s audience through the various exercises, and being careful to ensure that it was being done properly with arms and legs in the correct positions so as not to cause the back further damage. I am pleased to say that it appears I am doing it correctly as it seems to be paying off!

Many times my boys would wake up and come downstairs, to find me sprawled out on the floor, manoeuvring my body in all sorts of ways. This immediately became a source of amusement to them, but one morning their interest peeked and two of them, Jake (13) and Chase (3) lay down on the floor next to me and tried to copy what I was doing! In fact, a couple of times Chase would try and do it on top of me, which of course he was reprimanded for! More about this later…
When Paul the Apostle wrote to the church in Ephesus, he said that they should ‘imitate God’.
Ephesians 5:1 ‘Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.’
When I read this a couple of weeks ago, I thought to myself, “Wow. That is hectic. Is that even possible? Is that a fair thing for Paul to have asked?” Because, let’s face it – imitate God? God – who is completely and perfectly good, kind, loving, merciful, compassionate, sacrificial, gracious, righteous, long suffering – we should be exactly like Him? At first I felt slightly deflated in my spirit. I mean, come on! I have it heard it said that when making goals you should ensure they are measurable and actually do-able. Well, this seemed to me like an impossible goal. Imitate God? It just seems like an impossible command to obey, doesn’t it? I am only too aware that I am a sinner saved by grace, and though the work of the Holy Spirit is to sanctify me and make me more like Jesus – there is a long way to go! I imagine you might feel the same!
But here’s where he find some encouragement. Remember my two boys? Think about it -Even though they weren’t doing EXACTLY what I was doing, (arms and legs not in the perfect positioning etc), they were still IMITATING me. Yes, it wasn’t exactly what I was doing. Yes their arms and legs weren’t exactly in the right places – but that’s not the point. It was their aim to imitate me – and they were succeeding in doing so! When I thought of that, I found myself feeling a whole lot more encouraged. I began to think that I can imitate God. Paul’s command wasn’t impossible after all. Because I realised that even though I will get it wrong at times (many times!) and stumble and sin, if my heart is set on following God and being like Him, then no matter how many times I fail, I will still be IMITATING Him.
Sometimes when you buy a product, there will be a warning on the box saying ‘Beware of Imitations’. Why? Well, apart from the commercial aspect, the manufacturer wants you to be aware that there may be other inferior ‘copy cat’ products on the market. Well, when it comes to imitating God, lets not beware – let’s not be discouraged by feeling like an inferior product – and rather embrace this awesome freeing truth, that even in our weakness we can still imitate God, and show His love to a world that desperately needs it!