|“Mommy, my friend needs new crayons,” bellowed my then 5-year-old as he climbed in the family van after school.
In a true mommy-has-all-the-answers kind of way I confidently responded, “Well, his mommy will buy him some new crayons.”
The next day Griffin and I had the same conversation. Only this time Griffin added, “His mommy can’t buy him more crayons.” To which I replied, “Well, your teacher will get him some crayons.”
Later, when I called Griffin to dinner I noticed he was quite delayed; usually he was the first one to the table. What happened next stirred my soul.
Me: “Griffin, what kept you from coming when I called your name?”
Griffin: “I was going through my crayons to take some to my friend.”
Yes, I was speechless. Griffin’s example of selflessness weighed heavy on my heart for several days. What an extraordinary act of generosity for such a young boy.
I knew God used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. And I began to wonder about some of my favorites from the Bible … and myself: Who am I like? Do I have the tenacity to accomplish a lengthy assignment like Noah? Am I courageous and daring like Esther? Can I patiently wait years for God’s plan to unfold like David? Would I have the character of the Good Samaritan or the thoughtfulness of my 5-year-old? Could I have that?
Though it’s good to be inspired by the actions and faith of others, our key verse instructs us to imitate one person, Jesus. Imitating Jesus is quite a tall order. Most times I try to be like Him, but I miss the mark. Can you relate?
If I’m honest, some days I’m more like the rogues in Scripture than Jesus. I don’t enjoy that comparison as much, but it’s worthwhile to ask tough questions.
Is my heart stubborn and spirit unwilling to obey God like Pharaoh? Am I prideful and audacious like Samson? How often do I deny Christ like Peter before the crucifixion? Am I pious like the Pharisees?
Unfortunately, I have to answer yes to some of these. At times, I submit to my sinful nature. I make decisions with pride and arrogance that are contrary to what God wills and wants.
God expects me to forgive her even though she deeply wounded me? Forget it. That woman doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.
I asked and asked him to help me, but he didn’t. Now God wants me to help him? I don’t think so.
If he needs help, why doesn’t he get a job instead of standing on the corner asking for handouts?
The more we rebel against God’s ways, the less tender our hearts become. Distance invades our intimacy with the Lord, which leads us on a dangerous path away from Him.
It’s then that we should pray and ask Him to reveal areas of rebellion. Our response to His revelation? Immediate repentance followed by immediate obedience. The result will be an agreeable spirit and a softened heart, like Jesus, with a desire to imitate Him in all we say and do.
We each have certain aspects of our personalities that are similar to Noah, Esther and David. If we are willing to admit it, we can be a little like Pharaoh, Samson and the Pharisees, too. However, our goal should be to liken ourselves to one hero in the Bible … Jesus: obedient, humble, compassionate, truthful and so much more.
Dear Lord, I ask You to help me walk upright, imitating You in everything I say and do. Quicken my spirit when I fail, so I might repent and be restored to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (ESV)
Philippians 2:1-4, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (NIV)
Spark your love for God’s Word with Wendy Pope’s Bible study Trusting God for A Better Tomorrow: A Psalms Bible Study.
Visit Wendy’s blog for more encouragement.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one character trait Jesus bears that you would like to imitate?
Make a list of things that hinder you from being like Jesus. Pray and ask God to help you overcome these things. Be prepared! If you struggle with selfishness, for example, you may sense God asking you to donate some belongings, volunteer your time consistently, give up your efforts to always park in the spot closest to the store, or something else. Listen for His direction.