As a young teenager I liked to imitate other girls in my high school or my favorite actresses in TV shows. I would try to become more like them in every area of life, be it grades, social life, looks, and even the manner of speech.
Humans are naturally prone to imitate those who are inspiring to us. And as long as we choose the right role model, there is really nothing bad in imitating. But as Christians we have a higher calling.
We are called to imitate Christ, not other Christians.
The Bible says:
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (ESV, Ephesians 5:1).
That means that God should be our role model. And in the same way children imitate their parents, so also are we called to closely observe our Heavenly Father, imitate Him, and learn from Him as we mature.
So what does that look like practically?
Here are 3 tips to help us imitate God better:
1. Study the attributes of God
First of all, we need to consider the attributes of God and really get to know Him in order to be able to imitate Him. We cannot imitate all of His attributes, because He is God and we are not. For example, God is all-powerful, and we are not. But we can imitate those attributes that are part of human nature, such as love, compassion, forgiveness, and others.
I think a good way to do that is whenever we study God’s Word, pick a color in which we highlight verses that have anything to do with God’s character. Then create a list of those attributes, and after that write next to each one of those qualities what it means and how it applies to us personally.
For example, God is compassionate. That means I should be more compassionate with my husband when he had a hard day. Instead of telling him to be a man about it, maybe I should be more of a woman and actually show him that I care and can understand his feelings.
Here are some of the Bible verses where we can see the attributes of God and meditate upon:
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (ESV, Psalm 103:8).
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (ESV, 1 John 4:8).
“I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy ” (ESV, Psalm 140:12).
For example, we can make the choice to forgive someone in our lives, because God has forgiven us. Or we can choose to be more patient with our family members today, just as God is patient with us.
We can ask ourselves what would Jesus do in the situation we are facing and then do likewise.