Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Called to Mimic

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1). I remember seeing two Mime's perform. To my delight, I watched them communicate quite effectively without ever saying a word. A Mime is one who acts a part with gestures and actions. They don't use words, they use actions to express their message. The word "Imitators" in our verse means "Do as I do." What the Apostle is saying is "Don't talk about His love, walk in His love, live it, express it. Don't tell everybody you have it, show them that you have it. Do as God does. Mime. In other words, live it out before the world." This is a command calling for divine imitation to be our way of life. We are to "mimic" God's attitudes and actions through the power of the Holy Spirit. Mimes let their actions speak in place of their words. This doesn't mean that we are never to speak. It does mean that our actions give credibility to our words. Do you remember the old saw "What you do speaks so loud I can't hear what you say". I remember meeting an extremely over weight man who managed a health club. He was really pumped up about their exercise programs and he talked long about the health benefits made possible through membership in his club. I'm sure he has good management skills, he certainly was excited, however his physical condition did not make for good advertisement. Jesus gave us a similar charge in the Sermon on the Mount. He told us to "Love (as our lifestyle), our enemies and to pray (as a lifestyle) for those who persecute us so that we my be sons of our Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:44). As God's children we should be like our father, and love should meet love. We were born with Adam's depraved nature and we were fully deserving of the wrath of God. Now we are in Christ, empowered by His Spirit and motivated by a desire to walk in a manner pleasing to our new Father, God. (John 8:44). Imitation can be costly. In the early church, when a man gave his life to Christ, he often had to leave his job because it conflicted with his profession of faith. The same thing happened to F.W Charrington, the heir to a fortune made in the liquor industry. As Mr Charrington was walking by a tavern one night, he notice a woman waiting outside the door. A man, who was obviously her husband, came out, she tried to restrain him from going back in. With a savage blow of his fist, the man knocked her out. At which point he walked back into the bar, totally oblivious to his bleeding wife, who was lying on the street. Mr. Charrington looked at the name above the tavern door and saw it was his own. He said "with that one blow that man did not only knock his wife out, he also knocked me clean out of that business forever." He gave up the fortune he might have had. (From Morning Glory, July 26, 1993). Imitating Christ, can be costly in another way. Jesus told us that those who hated Him would also hate us. Some people hate Jesus because He is righteous and holy and they are not. His life exposes the corruption in their life. We are to be salt and light. Salt poured into an open wound will always bring a reaction. Light shining in darkness exposes what is going on in the dark. When we live like Christ we will receive some of the wrath of a world that hates righteousness. The Louvre in Paris is perhaps the most famous art museum in the world. It displays originals by such masters as Delacroix, Michelangelo, Rubens, da Vinci, Ingres, Vermeer, and many others. Since 1793, the Louver has encouraged aspiring artists to come and copy the masters. Some of our most famous modern artists have done that and have become better painters by copying the best the world has ever known. An article in the Smithsonian magazine tells about Amal Dagher, a 63 year old man who has been duplicating art at the Louvre for 30 years. Dagher remains in awe of the masters and continues to learn from them. He said, "If you're too satisfied with yourself, you can't improve." Like the Louver copyists, we'll never reach perfection before we get to heaven. Even so, we must resist the temptation to be satisfied with our present imitation of Jesus. We need to keep looking to Him, learning from Him, and asking for His help. To become like Christ we must learn from the Master. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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