“Therefore be Imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example] as well beloved children imitating their Father.” Ephesians 5:1
An imitator: a person who copies the behavior or actions of others.
An imitation: a thing intended to simulate or copy something else.
While I realize that there is a fine line between these two things, there is also a huge difference between them. Jesus has called us to be children who are to do the same works and the same things that we see our Father in Heaven doing. The word “imitator” or “follower” is one who does the same things as the One they are following.
My own children (I have 3) are always mimicking my actions and the things that I’m doing. Partially because they are watching me do them in order for them to see an example of how to do the things I am doing. Therefore, being able to see me doing them is key. One of the major differences between an imitator and an imitation is that an imitator actually has relationship while the imitation does not.
Jesus said, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); BUT HE IS ABLE TO DO ONLY WHAT HE SEES THE FATHER DOING, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn]. John 5:19
Learning how to see what the Father is doing is crucial to becoming an imitator instead of becoming an imitation. An imitation is a fake, that which looks like the real thing in the practical sense but isn’t the genuine article. We have imitation jewelry, imitation diamonds, and other things which are manufactured to look just like the real thing, but they’re not the real thing.
“Holding to a FORM of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” 2 Timothy 3:5
You may ask, “how do I tell the real thing from the fake?” Ephesians 5:2 gives us the answer:
“and walk continually IN LOVE [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”
While an imitation can look like, act like, and even sound like the real thing, upon a closer examination, you can usually find the flaws in the counterfeits. Imitators of God have had the Love of God Shed abroad in their hearts, while the imitations are complete strangers to what that Love looks like. While they make look real on the outside, the imitations are made from other materials, and the Love of God is not in them.
If we aren’t walking “IN LOVE,” we can easily find ourselves in the wrong place because our Father in Heaven is LOVE (1 John 4:8). This post is an awareness, not to condemnation of anyone, but an attempt to call us into alignment with God. A call to be Imitators and not Imitations, to become not just a “Form” but the “Substance” of Jesus to the rest of the world around us.
If you feel like you may be out of alignment this morning, just run back to the throne of Grace and get back in the right place! He Loves you more than you can ever imagine! The World needs Jesus. Will you be an IMITATOR of Jesus Christ or an IMITATION of Jesus Christ to Them?