Whenever I start vacuuming, my son gets his toy vacuum to help me clean. When I’m on my computer, he gets on my lap and wants to watch youtube. He knows where all his apps on the iPad are; I’m not sure who he learned that from… I love basketball and football; he also loves basketball and football. I sit down and play at the piano, he wants to be on the bench next to me playing the piano.
My son wants to be like me and I love it.
And at the same time am a bit terrified by it.
Is this perhaps what God wants when he calls us to imitate him? Does God want his kids to look like their heavenly Father?
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” - Ephesians 5:1-2
"Be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Isn’t that what kids do? They are imitators. They copy. And that is what God calls us to do, copy the Father. A “beloved children” we should do what any kid does and copy our Father. And I can’t help but think that God looks down proud when he sees his children copying him.
And how do we copy the Father? We look to Christ and copy him.
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? - John 14:8-9
As we copy Christ, we are like children copying their heavenly Father. And in copying Christ, we doing what God calls us to do as followers of Jesus. This is what disciples do. Disciples follow closely behind their rabbi and learn to talk like he talks, ask the questions he asks, love the people he loved, and teach the way he taught. And so if we are disciples of Jesus, we follow closely behind Jesus learning to copy Jesus.
As disciples we copy Jesus. As children we copy Jesus.
And this isn’t because copying changes our relationship with him; it doesn’t. This is the scandalous nature of grace; it isn’t contingent on our behavior. God has called us his children by the death and resurrection of Jesus, through faith. And so we are his children regardless of how well we copy Jesus.
But as any dad desires for his children, the heavenly father desires that his children would copy him.
God wants us to walk in love as he walked in love. God wants us to speak the Gospel to those around us as Christ preached the Gospel to those around him. God wants us to love the unlovable, to forgive, to make disciples, and to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.
The Apostle Paul mentions this same thing when he says to his church, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Paul plays the role of an earthly spiritual father as he pastors the church in Corinth. And he says, “As your spiritual father, copy me as I copy Christ.” And so Paul loves like Christ loved and he calls his church to do the same. And so we copy. We copy Christ as we see him in the scriptures and we love as he has first loved us.
Who are you copying? Who is copying you?