DIscipleship: Imitate what is good

1. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

2. Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.

3. I know imitation is the highest form of flattery, but stealing one’s identity is totally different.

1. Charles Caleb Colton • 2. Joyce Brothers • 3. AnnaLynne McCord

What does it mean to imitate God? Is imitation flattering to God? When we put forth our best efforts to self-govern our thoughts and actions, is this imitation? On one end, God provides Himself as a model and says to all who will FOLLOW ME. On the other end, there is mimicking and resemblance that can be an imitation. Imitation in some contexts is known to be fake or counterfeit. Is it possible to mimic God? To resemble him? To be fake in our efforts to imitate Him? So, what do you say?

Do a search on your favorite online scripture site, or look it up in your concordance. How many references to imitate or imitation do you find? I found a lot. Maybe consider doing a study, gaining some context, and encouraging a disciple trying to understand identity in Christ.

My dear friend, do not imitate what is bad, but imitate what is good. Whoever does good belongs to God, whoever does what is bad has not seen God.

3 John 11 (Good News Bible, GNB)

The encouragement is to imitate what is good and Godly. Imitate people who do good, for in them there is a resemblance to God. People who do good are from God and belong to God. The contrast is also an encouragement; do not imitate what is bad. Whoever does what is bad has not seen God. Do you see that?! Imitate those who belong to God. ALSO, whoever does bad has not seen God. This verse (and passage in verses 9-12) can address for us the modern argument for practicing Christianity in isolation.

I can worship God by myself. I don’t need to be in a “church” or around people to practice my faith.

you, me, or whoever else

Let’s check our discipleship. God’s design is a BODY of Christ. There are many of us and we are one. Maybe an issue is that when we come to saving faith we tend to pattern ourselves after men, instead of the good works of men. An offense of some kind happens, and then we can sometimes take all the feelings — being disappointed, being disheartened, wondering where is our place in the Body — and say we no longer need the church. The people who bounce back from this real place of disconnection are in part people who had to assess their discipleship and whether they imitated a human instead of that human’s doings. Selah.

Public domain photo.

Imitate what is good, not who is good. We can find good expressed in a myriad of ways through believers worldwide. Likewise, we can find evil. We are not to imitate evil. So then, whether we have wonderful examples or terrible examples, flawed humans are not our ultimate example. Jesus is our ultimate example. Even Apostle Paul said to follow Him, but only as he followed Jesus (1 Cor. 11:1).

If you have a bad taste in your mouth because you followed a man or woman and then questioned your relationship with God through Christ, then this is a good time for you! This is your opportunity to check your discipleship and choose Jesus AND His church again. I’m glad for you and pray that you choose well.

Another thought is from 2 Corinthians 5:17. It’s been helping me work through any regret or discipleship issues with other people. We are made new in Christ and given a new life when we come to saving faith. Old things are gone. Everything is new. Everything. We have to live a life that may look and feel the same in the truth that this life is really new. That takes faith and support from a godly community. If imitation did not or has not gone well for you, then consider this: you’re living a new life, and learning is a lifelong process.

Be brave, Beloveds, and imitate Christ. Pay attention to those who profess Christ because at their core, they will do good to others. Their motive will be good and to do good, and God will get the glory. These actions are what we imitate as our lives will bear witness to God’s goodness, grace, and love.

Dr. Shaunta Scroggins is the lead contributor to The Bereans’ Commentary.

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