“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1, 2 New International Version
“Imitate: verb (used with object) 1. to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example.” (www.dictionary.com)
Conducting oneself like another person means following his or her behavior, reproducing the same actions, not just having the same intentions. “Do what I say, not what I do” remains a substandard motivator. We need to see someone doing the worthy acts to effectively mirror them.
My maternal grandmother is one of the most admirable human models I have to imitate. She lived to be a hundred and one years old and recently died peacefully in her sleep free of disease or pain. This end is one I would certainly choose if I were in control of the nature of my death. Needless to say, that power does not reside in me, but much is left to me about how I choose to live.
When my grandmother moved away to retire near the Chesapeake Bay, she regularly invited us to stay for extended visits and showed her delight in our arrival by having clean sheets on the beds and vases of fresh-cut flowers lovingly arranged in a vase on the bedside table. This is my routine now.
She spoke with kindness and had an established habit of writing encouraging notes as well as saying to our faces what she liked about us. This is my custom now.
Church membership and attendance stayed a priority all her life, even with all the imperfections inherent in a religious community of people. I try to practice that, too.
When my grandmother made these choices who was she imitating? Her mother? Another relative? A friend?
I would like to think that if we keep tracing a worthy behavior back to its root, we will end up looking right into the face of God. “Imitate God”, Paul exhorts the Ephesians. Do what God did. Love. Forgive. Encourage.
In my Read- through-the-bible plan I am almost to the New Testament, and I look forward to taking a deeper look at what Jesus said and did in the gospel accounts. I remember that He was kind to his mother, and he took time for children. He looked past the sinful behaviors of others to befriend them.
Which flesh and blood person do you resemble?
How do you imitate God?