Imitation is the sincerest form of worship
Does that cause questions? We should note a couple of things before we start asking too many questions.
First, Jesus was perfect. He stated His own agenda on earth as imitating His Father:
- John 8:28
- John 8:38
- John 12:49
- John 12:50
- John 14:10
We are to have the same agenda. Now, if there is any quality of adoration in imitation, then we can safely say that imitating God is worshiping Him. Even if someone made a case against imitation as part of worship, we cannot take away the fact that our perfect Lord perfectly met His goals:
Doing what He saw the Father do, and saying what He heard the Father say
Therefore, we must be imitators as well (see Ephesians 5:1).
There is a specific point of imitation I want to mention. A word search on ‘compassion’ turns up the times Scripture says Jesus was moved with compassion. He had a compassionate love for people. Many did not respond favorably. His compassion for them was not meant to get a specific response. He was loving and compassionate because they were there. If you did the word search, check the references.
Jesus loved others because it was His nature to do so. So should we. Christians are often guilty of “loving” the lost as a means to win them. If it’s real, that’s great. Here is the test:
Do we keep loving them when they have rejected the Gospel?
Jesus loved them even as they placed thorns on His head! Now, apply compassionate love to those who have already accepted Him:
- Do we actively love the family of God (all the family)?
- Is it easier to love selected ones of my brothers and sisters?
If so, the Word says we have not surpassed the love of pagans for even they love those that love them. Our love for one another is supposed to be a noticeable, marking trait of our faith.
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,” I Peter 1:22. This version says fervently love one another. The KJV calls for unfeigned love. Whichever way we say it, the more we practice it the more effective we will be!
The Imitation Challenge
Here’s the challenge: Pick out just one of those brothers or sisters that it may be challenging to actively, genuinely love. Ask the Father to help you imitate His love for them. Keep asking Him. Commit yourself to the task. Pray for them and pray for yourself.
We can pray for this and know it is the Lord’s will. We also know He already wants to accomplish it. How different would modern churches and ministries would look if we pursued loving one another like this? It can change. It can start with me, or you, or us.
Soli Deo Gloria!
[originally published March, 2015]