You have heard the expression before that,
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Charles Caleb Colton
I have tried telling my daughter that when her sister is echoing everything that she does but to no avail…hahaha! But whether we realize it or not, we are imitating someone…it could be the latest pop sensation, or a Hollywood movie star, or the newest offering from the fashion runway…We are continually influenced by the culture around us. The question of the day is…Who is that? And to further the thought…Is it good for us? 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV1984) says,
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.””
This is a principle that I have tried to pour into my daughters’ spirit throughout their lives. That they need to decide now whether they will be a leader or a follower? I love this quote from Tom Lane,
The people you surround yourself with WILL, NOT MAYBE, influence you to go down one of two paths, the one that leads to destruction or the one that leads to life. Too dramatic? Maybe, but also true nonetheless. Experience has taught me that if you don’t set standards up beforehand of the people you will associate with, when the time of decision comes whether to take that first sip of alcohol as a teenager or that first experimentation with illegal drugs, you will be in no position to make the right choice. It is hard enough to resist temptation but when you surround yourself with the wrong people, compromise will always follow. Perry Noble made this great statement,
“The first step away from God is always a small one.”
I can vouch that this is the truth! I learned this lesson the hard way as I failed in both areas and was trapped in a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior involving alcohol and drugs. Jesus referred to the two possible paths or gates in Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)…
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
I barreled through that wide gate and spent so much time on the wide path to destruction, but let my hindsight be your foresight…Who you hang out with is critical!! Ephesians 5:1-2 (HCSB) gives us the direction to follow,
“Be imitators of God.” Not really a bumper sticker you see is it? But imitating God, being more like Jesus Christ, and less like the world around us will keep us of the path that will lead to life. I love this image of a son imitating his father moving the lawn. The same is true with Jesus. When He was here on earth, Jesus continually said that He does only what He has has seen His Father doing. One reference (out of many), is found in John 5:19 (NLT)…
“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”
Jesus Himself imitated God the Father and so should we. Let’s look back at the last portion of verse 2 of Ephesians 5…Jesus “gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Could there be something in sacrifice that could unlock the key to happiness?
One of the most famous Kings of all time was Solomon. Son of King David, Solomon is known for being the wisest man who has ever lived…but do you know how that came to be? It wasn’t from any human effort of exhaustive learning, but from an act of humility and reverence to God. At the beginning of his reign as King of Isreal, Solomon had presented an extravagant offering to God. 1 Kings 3:5 (NLT) says,
“That night the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!””
Stop…What would your answer be? Money, power, fame, you fill in the blank ______. My guess it would be something that would bring happiness to your life right? I am no different, I highly doubt it would not have been so selfless as Solomon’s…1 Kings 3:7-9 (NLT) records his answer,
“Now, O LORD my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Wow!! That is amazing! What an example for us today! How many of us would like to be presented with a “blank check” like that from God?! How many of us would answer like Solomon with such humility and self-awareness of his shortcomings? Look at the result in 1 Kings 3:10-14 (NLT).
“The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.”
If we get our priorities right, God’s favor and blessing will follow! And once that happens who knows where God will take you? You and I know about the wisdom of Solomon as a result of his humility and obedience, or you could say his imitation of God. Now as you read 1 Kings, Solomon made his fair share of mistakes but by all accounts Solomon was a world changer! Lysa TerKeurst said in her book, ”The Best Yes”…
Like Solomon, to be a world changer, humility is key! Even though he was king, Solomon realized his need for wisdom to govern the people and look at the opportunities that followed! If we want to be on the path of life, to be a positive influence to the people around us, our friends, our spouse and/or children…to be a world changer, then we must make sure that we are imitating the “One” who created everything and approach people in humility! When you do, your happiness will not come through imitating culture, but through service to the One person that really matters, Jesus Christ!
I will close with this last thought from Marty Collier,
When you imitate God, you will be on the path of life which will lead to holiness and will bring you far more happiness than anything else in the world!
If you would like to read more on this topic, here is something I posted that you may like, called: