As a teacher, my students are always looking for ways to play practical jokes on me. I’m a jokester myself and we have fun in class and my students feel free to play tricks on me occasionally. Last week, I had a student play the copycat game with me where he mimicked everything I said and did in order to get me flustered. Luckily, he got tired and quit after a few minutes, but it brought to mind how we all copy or imitate someone in our lives.
Our kids at home are copying our behavior whether we know it or not. Just like my students in class, our own children learn from our example and words and in many cases, grow up to be and think just like their parents.
Society as a whole tends to copy itself in the sense that people make every effort to fit in with those around them. Whether it be fashion, lifestyle, or recreation, we tend to live and act like those we are around the most.
But what about the Christian? Is there precedence for us to be copycats? To answer those questions, one need look no further than the Bible itself. God’s word is full of examples of our need to imitate God or Jesus and to even imitate those who are following Christ’s example.
- We are to suffer like Christ (1 Peter 2:20-21 “ For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”)
- We are to forgive like Christ (Ephesians 4:32- 5:2 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”)
- We are to think of others like Christ did (1 Corinthians 10:33- 11:1 “Just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”)
- We are to obey like Christ (1 John 2:3-6 “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”)
- We are crucified like Christ (Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”)
- We are to shine like Christ (Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”)
- We are to love like Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”)
- We are to submit like Christ (Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”)
- We are to serve like Christ (John 13:12-15 “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”)