IMITATING THE RIGHT PERSON
You also became imitators of us and of the Lord. I Thess. 1:6
Many imitate their Christian leaders, but often, the Christian leaders they try to act like don’t act like Jesus. Their imitation is in vain.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day didn’t imitate Jesus either. In fact, Jesus was so different from them in His lifestyle and speech that the Scribes and Pharisees didn’t recognize Him for who He was, so foreign did He seem to them.
Who is it you admire today? Oftentimes, one outspoken person will admire someone else who acts just like her. Or, a quiet person will look up to another introvert because she feels validated.
Even the opposite can be true. A type-A personality can admire an introvert because she suspects that her own work habits are out of balance. Or, the introvert can admire a take-charge person because she feels trapped by her own shyness.
None of these reasons for imitation are what Paul describes, however. When it comes right down to it, there aren’t many who give off the aroma of Christ. But oh, how wonderful when you encounter one who does. When that person graces your world, even for a moment, you just know that you are looking into the face of Christ. Usually, that person is not even trying to act like Jesus. Any similarity they bear has occurred only because they have spent so much time with Him.
This morning, I take a moment, close my eyes, and review the faces of people who have shown me what Jesus is like. Some live in heaven, some live nearby, and countless others have touched my life in a single moment at various places throughout the world. I remember what each encounter felt like; my heart beat a bit faster in their presence. The memories of those moments do not diminish with time because the holy ache it stirred in me still exists.
I can’t even imagine what heaven will be like, Jesus. Everyone I know there will fully resemble You. My communion with them will be perfect. Your plans You have made for our future are so wonderful. Amen