My youngest son looks up to his older brothers. Literally. At ages 20 and 21, they tower over his eleven year old frame. But, seriously, he admires them and you can tell by what he does. He cuts his hair like one brother and plays football like the other. TV shows, music, movies. If they like it, he’s in.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:1, 2 (NIV):
“ Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Paul says that Jesus “loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” My youngest son knows his brothers care when they take time out of their busy schedules to be with him—throwing the football, wrestling, or getting a cherry limeade at Sonic. He knows his brothers have a lot to do: work, studies, laundry, friends. When they take time for him, he understands they are sacrificing something else.
This sacrifice and offering of time teach him to give too. For example, he is more open to playing with kids in the neighborhood that are younger. He is willing to hang out and throw the football with them because someone he values did the same for him. He imitates his brothers’ sacrifice and generosity.
So, what does it mean to imitate God? John helps us out in I John 4: 71:
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.”
What does love look like for you?
Who has modeled love in your life?
How can you copycat?