I took my 3 year-old daughter on a date last week. While we were eating ice cream I told her after 3 more bites we were going to save the rest. She replied, “How bout 5?”, to which I responded, “How bout 3?” and so on for a few more exchanges until she stopped and said with a smile, “Oh Daddy, we’re arguing.”
Kids learn at a very young age how to be just like their parents. It could have been a memory of one of our conversations with her as parents, or she might have picked up this skill listening to us adults. (and there are countless other habits that she’s observed and repeated as well.) How else do kids learn except to mimic what they see and hear from others.
At some point though we become old enough to stop copying our parents and we find new people to copy. My son keeps bringing a few of these copycat behaviors home from school that are less than desirable. We copy those who interest us most. Let’s tie this in with our relationship with God.
When we are first adopted into God’s family through faith in Jesus we are like little kids ready to repeat whatever we know of God. He becomes the center of our copycat attention. But then, after a few years of being a Christian, imitating God becomes less of a priority and other things seem more interesting. I remember this process very well in my life from elementary school through high school. At some point God didn’t seem worth copying anymore. There was plenty of other people and trends that captivated me.
So where are you? Do you still have that childlike wonder, or should I say faith, when it comes to being just like your heavenly Father? Do you spend so much time with Him that you are beginning to look like Him? Are you so fixed on following Him that His ways become your ways?
These are exactly the things that scripture challenges us with: become more and more like Him (2 Cor. 3:18), be holy like Him (I Pet. 1:16), look like Jesus (I Jn. 3:2). In the beginning God made us “in His image” (Gen. 1:26). He made us, and then despite our rebellion, He saved us from sin and death so that we could look just like Him. It is because of grace that God chooses us to represent Him. I’m pretty picky about my reputation. I don’t think I’d pick a sloppy mess of a person to follow me and represent me.
In God’s unthinkable love for us He is patient and forgiving even when we totally misrepresent Him. It’s humbling and honoring when my kids want to be just like me. Imagine how glorified your heavenly Father is when you desire to look like Him. We’ll never be perfect at it but if we’re going to imitate anyone don’t you think Jesus is the right pick?
I want my childlike faith/copycat habits back. I want to be so enamored by my Father that I find joy in being just like Him.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” (Eph. 5:1)