Summary: When we give our lives to Jesus Christ we are given the permission to imitate God, how by loving one another as God loves all so should we if we are to be like Jesus and advance his kingdom
They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, well I suppose if someone would rather be you than themselves that sort of makes you better, then that most likely would puff up the ego, till it dawned on you that most likely they need help desperately in my case. Who would you imitate, for a preacher Martin Luther, Wesley or Spurgen? You are wishing I could imitate those more closely right now aren’t you! Or would you rather follow a celebrity or who? I think this need to imitate is a deep rooted thing, a need for acceptance to be part of a group to blend in is deep in us all. I often travel the world, to often to be honest. This year alone its been USA 5 times, Australia 3 times and NZ twice and ah yes Japan once as well. I enjoy visiting different lands but I do find it interesting that I have this need to blend in to not stand out to not seem different, its is easy for me in America, Australia and NZ similar profile and with a slight change in twang, but then there was Japan, for some reason not that easy must be the accent!
To be a Christian
How many Christians seek to fit in to blend in with the crowd with the world, not wanting to be different, wanting to be accepted to the point were they hide their identity choosing to hide the light from the world. But that’s not what we are called to be, I would say not what Jesus died for so lets discover what it might mean to be like Jesus to live like him
To live like Jesus in a foreign land and show those around us what and who Jesus is. Why is this important?
Consider the Church as the body of Christ and consider that God sent Jesus as a human to show humanity himself, he did not act to fit in he came and acted as God on this earth. We the church are called to act like Jesus to show the world what and who Jesus is like
But we the Church as a whole don’t necessarily show Jesus, we show religion, judgement, rules, regulations and wonder why the world does not smash down our doors on a Sunday morning to get in and have some as well
There are some in the Church who gladly stand out be separate, even seek it as they feel they are chosen and better than the other parts of the body, not really wanting to be of the same body in truth, definitely holy and right, have rituals, will be selective as to who they let in, perhaps think themselves better that others and thank God that they are different as they hide behind veils of religion and wonder why the world does not want to imitate them
How it must pain God to see the distorted vision of his beloved son we the church sometimes gives the world, which is in pain groaning with the rest of creation desperate for a saving love only a saviour can bring. So time to get the mirror out!
Imitators of God
Who should we imitate, in the text we read it says:
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. What are the key attributes of God, how do we created things try and live like God almighty, Well, lets start with some key facts about God:
God is Love
God is Holy
God loves justice
God loves mercy
God loves truth
God hates pride
This is only a small fraction and I would never dream of claiming to understand God or being able to define him. What we are talking about is a holy life a life of personal morality in our pursuit of striving to be like Jesus. Why is important, consider if the Church is the body of Christ then any ways that do not show Jesus do not honour the body or even make it weak or diseased certainly not showing Jesus the way he lived
Path of Holiness
Let me explore another angle then, We are called to imitate God, to do this we must walk a path of holiness, be holy because I am holy we are told by God
This choosing to keep ourselves pure, pure in thought and deed, we must if we aspire to be like Jesus as he was. Not an easy path, a very difficult path but it is the way to being human as God meant us to be
You see God does care about the minute details of our lives, about everything cares how we think, cares about what we watch, the websites we linger on, the music we listen to, the way we spend our money, the way we spend our time, our attitudes, our sexuality and how we express it, how much we drink, the drugs we take and on it goes. You see all of life is a gift a precious and dear gift from God. We all will be asked someday to account for what we did with that gift, how did we use it for what purpose? Jesus told us the greatest purpose for our lives, which can be summed up “love one another”. You see the greatest aspect of God we need to imitate and to make the root of all other aspects of our being is Love. True holiness is true love as God is total love, if God was not 100% love then he would cease to be God. So if we are Children of God we can’t play or seek the dark ways of our past before Jesus came and switched on the light bulb in our lives and Jesus promised when we give our lives to him, he lives in our hearts. So when we go to do things in secret that we are ashamed about, think no one else knows about, guess who was there to, yep Jesus. I am not here to condemn, for I would need to start with me first, call me sinner. But even though I am a sinner, I know I can say sorry come to the Lord in repentance and receive Grace, Mercy basically in English have my slate wiped clean, again. The path of Holiness is a thin one and it is easy to get lost