Mon Ephesians 5:1-10 Thu Philippians 2:3-8 Sun Ephesians 5:1-2
Tues Ephesians 5:11-20 Fri Matthew 5:1-16
Wed 1 John 2:3-6 Sat Mark 8:34-38
“A genuine imitation.” What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? Do you think Rolex watch or Gucci bag and a street vendor in New York City, or do you think Jesus-follower? I’m guessing the watch or purse, but I’d like to open your mind to the latter.
Although there are exceptions, generally when it comes to a created thing, a genuine imitation is little more than a clever rip-off and more often a cheap counterfeit. That’s because the intent of an imitation is usually to create a likeness for the purpose of deception. We want others to think we have the real thing at the bargain basement cost of its counterfeit. A “genuine imitation” is something which gives the appearance of but always fails on closer inspection. In that sense, a fake Rolex fits the description perfectly.
But what if we strip out the intent of deception? What if the profit or status motive was removed from the equation? What about the priceless piece of art or historical artifact which is meticulously copied or re-created to allow the original to be properly preserved? What about the sincere follower of Jesus who seeks to live their life as He did?
Imitation was an essential part of becoming who we are. From a very young age, we learned by watching and imitating. Responsible parents are careful in what they do, because they know little eyes are always watching. We did not learn to tie our shoes by being given an instruction manual. We watched our father, mother, big brother or sister do it, and we mimicked what they did. It shouldn’t be any different in our lives of faith. God gave us the Bible, not as an instruction manual for living, but rather as His living and breathing Word telling the epic story of His perfect love and passionate pursuit of us. It comes alive in the stories it tells of Jesus’ life as He walked the earth as one of us. We don’t have to figure out how to pray, Jesus showed us how to (Matthew 6:5-15). We don’t have to learn how to respond to temptation on our own, Jesus went to the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). We don’t have to figure out what love is, Jesus went to the cross (John 19).
It is never the intent of a genuine follower of Jesus to deceive someone by giving the appearance of. A genuine follower of Jesus mimics their Savior. They forgive as He did. They turn the other cheek as He did. They love as He did. They make it a priority to steal away to a quiet place and talk to the Father as He did. They don’t do it to be seen. Rather, they desire that the Father is seen through what they do. Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve was that they could be equal with God (by eating a piece of fruit). As a genuine imitation, we will never be the real thing (Him). On closer inspection, we will always fail the test. But in living out the life and love of Jesus, we will know Him more deeply and invite others into that same journey.
May it be said of us that we are genuine imitations of Jesus.