Who are you imitating?
There is a picture, that I am very proud of, stowed away in one of the numerous photo albums that are cataloged at my parent’s home in Michigan. All of the pictures found in those albums have great memories attached to them, but there is one in particular that I really enjoy. This picture is an old photo of me and my father. One is different then any other picture in the album is that I am imitating my Dad as best as I can. He is sitting in his large La-Z-Boy recliner, sprawled out, reading out of the morning’s newspaper. Next to him I sit as proud as can be, sitting in a matching large La-Z-Boy recliner, posing like my father, “reading” the same copy of the newspaper. I couldn’t have been older than 5 at the time. It wasn’t that I had any interest in current events at that age, the reason I was doing all of that was obvious: I wanted to be just like my Dad.
We always imitate what we want to be like don’t we. Whether it’s shaving your baby face along with your Dad in the bathroom, or trying to wear designer clothes like the other kids at school, we imitate exactly what we want to be like. Which brings up an interesting question: Who are we imitating right now? We dress a certain way, do different things, and behave in a specific manner in imitation in one way or another.
I have currently been working through “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis. It is a great classic piece of Christian literature. It has been criticized by many scholars for being “overly-pious”. While this may be true to a certain extent, it remains true nonetheless that we as Christians are called to imitate our Savior and no one else. We are not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Are we seeking daily to be transformed to be more like Christ? Are we humbling ourselves as servants to wash the feet of others as He did? Do we seek to feed the poor and help the outcast like He did? Or are we imitating something else? The Church itself has emulated the world in many capacities. The Church being the World will not bring lost sinners to repentance. People already have the world, they don’t need it again in the church. We are called to be set apart, individually and corporately as the Church. I am not trying to persuade us all to wear ties and three-piece suits to church, that is not the point I am making. I am saying that in the subtlest ways, the Church has begun to emulate different behaviors of the World. For what reason? Because we imitate what we want to be like.
This is something that I have to work on day by day. To deny my desire to imitate and conform to something other than my Lord and to seek after His likeness in my life. He was and is an example for us in every way. I pray that we all seek to be more like Him and not like anything else.