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THE VALUE OF IMITATION

December 16, 2013

Text: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”  I Corinthians 11:1

He approached me in the student center, a fellow student whom I knew slightly. A friend had told him that I was a second-year Greek student.  He was learning the Greek alphabet and one letter was giving him trouble. (ζ I think.) Sitting down, I demonstrated forming that letter. In a few minutes he was writing it well.

How do you learn to practice new  skills? Most of it comes by imitating others. Someone may tutor you. There is always classroom or “OJT”. Or you just see someone doing something, and you “copy-cat” what he did. Remember going to the first grade and looking at the top of the blackboard? There was the alphabet in big letters. How deficient we would be without having learned from someone’s pattern to follow!

It is a natural occurrence that we see both good and evil in the activities of  good and evil humans. Are we paying attention? When we recognize something in someone’s behavior we must decide if it is worthy of our incorporating it in our character.   Morality and goodness modeled before us has eternal blessings. The seeds of evil and immorality will produce a poisonous fruit. “…for whatever one sows  that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:7b

Christian character is as visible as any other skills, but do we seek to build saintly behaviors more than aping the evil practices of Satan’s stooges? Church is a paramount environment for growing and imitating spiritual behaviors. Go to church often. Don’t be put off by the rumored “hypocrites in the church”. There are many more real Christians from whom to learn good character than there are the storied “fakes”. Read your Bible, and in both testaments you will find excellent examples of morality and good works to imitate. But read the gospels and take Jesus as your greatest example.

Worship services are places to collect good examples. Home is another. Everyday activities can yield many patterns for good behavior. First recognize a kind act,  or self control, or purity, or the way someone prays. Then do the same. Be ready to see your opportunities.  

In college I was in a “social service club”. We planned and completed several projects each year. One day per week we would get up early, get on a rickety old school bus, and arrive at a local nursing home by seven a.m. We would go into a large room where residents were assembled on hospital beds, wheel chairs, and walking with canes, etc. We sang hymns, prayed, and read and studied God’s word. Then we spread out down the halls and visited patients, greeting and encouraging them, smiling and cheerful, praying with them at bedside. One student, destined to be the next president of the college, was exceptionally adept at this and always came up with the very thing that needed to be spoken to each resident. Students hugged, comforted, kissed and did small things for patients. It was there on Tuesday mornings I saw others demonstrating love, patience, kindness, meekness, and many other such marks of Christian character. On Tuesday nights I went to bed and thought about how that day I had learned from my fellow students how to minister to others.

Go thou and do likewise.

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One Comment
  1. Wonderful example! And we must also remember that we are an example for someone, whether good or bad! Let’s strive to be good it is good.

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