Thursday, April 10, 2014

Imitating Christ

Imitating Christ
Scripture Reading: John 13:12-20
You also became imitators of us and of the LORD, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6 NASB)
My handicapped grandson looked up at me and patted the floor. Since he couldn’t speak the words, it was his way of saying, “come down and play with me.” As we sat on the floor together, I noticed that Jonathan copied every move that I made. If I lined up the cars and trucks, he did the same. If I pretended to load up the big dump truck with blocks, he would duplicate my actions. Then I’d dump them out and he would laugh and do likewise. I kidded him by saying, “Jonathan, you’re a copycat.”
     At that moment I realized what the Apostle Paul meant when he said to the Thessalonians, “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Th. 1:6)
     How does the message of this verse affect my everyday walk with the Lord? People are observing my actions, making judgments, and drawing conclusions about the person of Jesus Christ that I represent. If I want to bear an effective testimony for the Lord, I must be willing to imitate the actions that Jesus modeled for us while here on earth. What kind of actions did Jesus model for us?
     Jesus showed compassion for the lost sheep of Israel. He went out of his way to provide help for the needy. He feed the hungry and grieved for the dying. He encouraged the downtrodden and gave support to the weak. He showed kindness to those who opposed him and offered the grace of God to his enemies. In spite of all the hate, pain, suffering, and humiliation heaped upon him, he was still able to say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
     Jesus modeled the kind of Christian life that I should follow. What kind of example do I portray to the grocery clerk, the gas station attendant, the postman, the delivery boy, the tax collector, or the average person on the street?
     Jonathan’s actions in imitating the different way I moved the cars and trucks showed me that countless people within the sphere of my influence may be copying my actions as well. Are you living the type of lifestyle that God wants others people to copy? If you are, then praise God for a life well lived. If not, then ask God to help you become an imitator of Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you set the pattern of Christian living that you want me to follow. Help me to be a copycat for Jesus. 

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