A Great Imitation

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 1 Thessalonians 1:6 (NKJV)

It has been said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and I guess this can be true.  Flattery is simply the act of paying someone a compliment to win his or her favor, so if imitating someone is paying them a compliment to win their favor, then I guess this begs the question; Who and what are we imitating, and what sort of favor do we seek?

I don’t think everyone who imitates another person does it with the intent of flattering the one they are imitating though. I believe some imitation can be more of a monkey-see monkey-do type of action, or even a subliminal reaction. This type of imitation is when a person learns to act in a certain way by mimicking another person’s actions, but they often have limited knowledge and/or concern of the consequences—sort of like following a popular trend. And it may be that some people will imitate others because they like what they see, and they want to be like that person in some specific way, or just like them in general.

All this to say, imitating someone can be a good thing, or it can be a bad decision, it all depends on who or what we choose to imitate. The apostle Paul told the Church of Corinth, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1).  Paul knew it was human nature for people to pattern their way of living off of how others lived, and these ways weren’t always the best, nor were they God’s will, or God-honoring.  Paul could tell them to imitate him with confidence, because Paul had already made the decision to imitate Jesus, and to live a life pleasing to God. 

If God has chosen us, then our lives should reflect His presence and control in our lives—we should be imitators of Him.  The fruit of this transformation will reveal itself in the fruit of the Spirit being evident in our lives (Gal. 5:22).  Our lifestyle should be completely different from what it was before we received Christ as our Savior, as we choose to imitate Jesus, and those who follow Him in truth. The notion of imitating God and Christ is not just going to church or applying a Christian fish to the back of our car—our imitating God applies to every aspect of our lives—to holiness (1 Pet 1:15-16), love (Mt 5:43-48; Lk 6:36; Jn 13:34; 15:12), and suffering (Mt 16:24-25; Mk 10:38-39; Lk 14:27; Jn 15:18-20; 1 Pet 2:18-21).  Can you say to those around you, “Imitate me."?

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these things today. 

STUDY QUESTION: According to 1 Thessolonians 1:6-7, whom did the believers imitate and follow, and what was the result?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Is it your heart's desire to follow and imitate Jesus with all your heart, soul, and mind, or is there something, or someone of this world being given a greater value, so that you are following and imitating it, or them?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:  Stand fast against the enemy’s temptation for you to follow anything or anyone who is not imitating Jesus.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, thank You for giving me so many great examples to follow within Your Word.  Thank You for giving me great examples within my life as well.  Help me to see clearly what I am to imitate as I read Your Word, and observe proper God-honoring actions in others.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


Blessings upon your day, Scott



Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000