My friend Chris’s house is somewhat of an oddity in Arizona — he has a lawn in his backyard. Most of us have rock, gravel, fake grass, or some other yard covering, as it’s easier to take care of in the blazing hot summers. But Chris likes the heat and doesn’t mind having to mow his yard. However, his lawnmower is old and cranky — literally. It requires many pulls on the cord to start the engine.
One day, as Chris was cranking away, he noticed his young son playing nearby with his toy plastic lawnmower. To Chris’s surprise, his son was repeatedly pulling on an imaginary cord, faithfully imitating his father. Chris was amused, but then, he started thinking about all the other ways that his son could and did imitate him. What was he absorbing each day from his father’s speech, patterns of behaviour, or activities? It was a sobering lesson.
“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.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)
“But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:5-6 NIV)
When we were young, most of us wanted to obey our parents’ commands and imitate their actions. Even as adults, we may find ourselves doing or saying something and thinking, “Oh, my, that’s just like my mother (or father).” But because we are human and imperfect, we weren’t always successful in our efforts to obey or imitate, and they weren’t always good examples. Thankfully, we are blessed with a Father who sets a perfect example for us. Are we using His life as a pattern for ours? Are we, as the Scripture says, living as Jesus did? Are we acting like dearly loved children?
A search of various websites yields lists of more than 100 verses that entreat us to follow Christ’s example. We are told to have the same mindset as Christ, to keep His commands, to imitate Him, to love others as He loved us (and others), to be kindhearted, and to forgive as Christ forgave us.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
This is one of my favourite verses. It’s not always easy to live as Jesus did, but if we focus on these eight ideals as we go through our day, we have a better chance of looking and acting like God’s child.
Prayer: Father, give us the strength to focus on You, to remember that we are Your dearly loved children. We want to act like You, but sometimes, it’s hard. Give us the strength and resolve to follow Your example and to love others as You love us. Thank You, Father. Amen.
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission