Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. (Ephesians 5:1)
Be Like God
To imitate something is to copy or use something as a model, form, or design. Within personal relationships, it is to act the same as or to impersonate and mimic. One of the keys of imitation is to present an accurate model of what is being copied. The result will be that what is imitated will be like the original. Authors have suggested imitation is the highest form of flattery, but it is more than trying to flatter someone else. Imitation is the foundation of man’s relationship with God. The Lord demands it and includes it in His canon of doctrine. Paul’s exhortation to the saints in Ephesus included the need to form one’s life to model God. As dear children, the Father’s offspring is to look like the Heavenly Father in every way.
Herman Melville wrote, “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” Melville was not writing about the relationship between man and God in a spiritual sense. Still, his statement rings true with the struggle humanity has with obedience to the word of God. The days of Noah were characterized by individuality, where everyone did what they wanted to do. Only eight souls imitated the character of God, and only eight souls were saved in the ark. Throughout the period of early days of Israel, the land was governed by judges who the Lord would send to rescue the people out of bondage. This cycle continued for many years because there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes. They imitated what they wanted instead of seeking the divine blueprint. The failure of “originality” not only led to their failure but their destruction.
The human spirit has a hard time wanting to imitate the Divine. Freedom of life-choices is the banner most live under, believing that life is about the here and now. They believe that imitation is one letter short of limitation. Trying to mold their character after God will limit their pleasures, wisdom, and purpose in life. Why do so many people refuse to obey the will of the Father? They do not want to imitate God. According to human reasoning, imitating the world is a lot more productive and much more fun. Sadly, when these souls stand before the Father in eternity, they realize that human imitation was the greatest limitation.
Imitating God is a powerful task, daunting at best and humbling to try. How can a man imitate God? The Father has not given an impossible task, but with His divine help, any man can model their lives after the character of God. Children of God become like God. Reading the Bible helps a man see that God is loving, kind, merciful, benevolent, forgiving, and slow to wrath. There are myriads of ways to describe God as found in God’s word for His charity. It must not be lost on the student of scripture that the Lord God is also just, fair, punishing when required, without partiality, and unwavering in His word. All of the characteristics of God (goodness and severity) must be imitated by His children.
Love and forgiveness are the spiritual DNA of the child of God because they belong to the Father. The follower of Christ cannot endure sin as the Father abhors sinful conduct. The Lord God is pure and holy, and His children must be pure and holy. God so loved the world, He gave His only Son to die for those who did not deserve grace. Children of God learn to forgive and remove the stain of prejudice against others. Imitating God shows kindness, being tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave His children. When the world looks at the life of a Christian, they see the Father. If the world sees the child of God walking like the world, talking like the world, and living like the carnal world, they will not see the imitation of God. Who do you look like?