Hello! Hope you all had a great weekend. Here we go with part two (you can find part one here if you missed it)
At the end of the last post I asked you to think about who your role models are, and who you imitate. I wonder what sort of people you came up with? For me, there’s a definite distinction between “I wish I could look more like this person/have their house/earn as much money as them” and “I really admire what I see in this person, and would love to get better at doing it myself”.
If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you might have picked up subtle hints about my love for Cherry Healey. She is a funny, intelligent, gorgeous, well-dressed, insightful TV presenter making fantastic documentaries for BBC3, as well as raising her little girl. Poor Blunders has had to listen to me whine on more than one occasion “But I want to beeee Cherry!” Now, honestly, this is not true. If I were Cherry, yes I’d have better clothes, a lovely spilt-level London apartment, and a successful TV career, but I wouldn’t have my husband, or my brilliant two boys, or my friends and family, or beautiful sea views from my windows. If being Cherry meant leaving behind everything about my current life, I wouldn’t do it. No siree. Nor (and goodness me, I can’t believe I’m saying this) do I actually want to be Mrs Robbie Williams (I know, I shock myself!).
Nonetheless, I can recognise people of influence in my life who have characteristics that I want to imitate…examples to come, in a few paragraphs or so.
So, who should we imitate, and how?
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul was very clear about this;
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Ephesians 5:1 (New King James version)
As Christians we are called to imitate God…which is a pretty steep challenge! But there are definitely strategies that can help us as we strive towards this. I read a fantastic blog about imitating Jesus (http://bluepointchurch.org/?p=205) that pointed me to this verse in Philippians:
“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”Philippians 3:17 (English Standard version)
The blog author goes on to say this;
“Let me paraphrase what Paul is trying to say here: You’re going to copy. You’re going to mimic someone’s steps and mirror someone’s movements. That’s how we roll as human beings. So if you’re going to imitate somebody, go ahead and imitate me. Follow me as I follow Jesus.”
So, for me, the first strategy we can employ when attempting to imitate Jesus, is to find people who are already doing it. Mr Blunders has shedloads more grace, patience and understanding for people than me. Gran B is the ultimate prayer warrior – who brings people, situations and problems before God as an automatic response. My sister in law is desperately passionate about working with and in her local community. My best friend is desperately loyal to her friends even when they treat her badly. A couple we know extravagantly bless people when they see a need. These are the people who I want to be more like, these are the characteristics that I want to imitate.
Secondly, our very wise friend Caroline raised the excellent point that when you are in close relationship with someone, you often imitate their behaviour without being totally aware of it. Spouses mirror facial expressions, housemates adopt each other’s accents (in my student house we had a fantastic mix of Midlands, Newcastle/Sunderland, Wales and Somerset!), best friends order the same food in a restaurant. When we spend a lot of time with someone, we often become more like them.
The Ephesians verse mentioned earlier reads like this in The Message translation;
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love.Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love.” Ephesians 5: 1-2 (MSG)
I love that – keep company with God and learn a life of love. Having a deep, intimate relationship with God is the best way to imitate His behaviour. It’s learning by osmosis (what a brilliant word!).
In conclusion, I’d encourage you to imitate others from time to time. Look at their best habits, characteristics and behaviour. But more, strive to imitate Jesus whenever you can. It’s a tough call, but spending time with God will make it much easier. I know it’s something I need to get MUCH better at!
And remember, for each of us, there will be people (not just children) watching us, and looking up to us, and imitating our behaviour too. Let’s try to set the best example possible eh?