For as long as I can remember I have tried to imitate people I admire. When I was a young boy playing baseball, it was Pete Rose. Slid head first even when coaches told me not to do that. Hustled on every play. In my backyard I imagined I was JC Watts playing quarterback for the Sooners. I even would pretend to be my dad, who I saw as the ultimate soldier.
Since becoming a Christian in high school, I have tried to imitate Jesus and other godly influences. I have failed miserably. As I read of the heart and the hope of Christ, I desire to make what He did a little bit of what I do. When your nature is changed – transformed – its just what you do. I have had several godly examples come alongside me. I often catch myself doing or saying something those great men have modeled for me. And yet I still fail miserably.
I dont imitate Pete Rose anymore – probably a good thing, right? JC Watts most recent ventures create no interest in me. I have done my time as a Soldier. No pretending there.
But I cant stop imitating Jesus and those few godly men. I fail miserably. Frequently I miss the mark. But I will never stop watching and emulating. I cant. The Gospel has changed me. My nature is different.
1 Thessalonians 1 tells us that we are changed by the power of the Gospel, the Word and the Holy Spirit. They are always linked together. They do the work of changing us into the image of Christ. I am glad I will never be the same. Changed by the good news of Jesus Christ. Watching to imitate what He and His servants do.