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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Imitation Not Innovation


In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.   Philippians 2:5

Growing up in a small town in the south, football was the focus in the fall (the conversation even continued year round for the hardcore fans). As a high school player I noticed we would attempt to copy how the college teams played. If they wore tear away jerseys, we wore tear away jerseys—which was very cool! Whatever helmet, cleats or pads an Alabama or Auburn player sported, we tried to emulate. Even our coaches, who had played college football, implemented collegiate level workouts. We increased our winning probability by imitating successful teams.

Fortunately in our Christian faith, Jesus Christ is the gold standard for our attitude and actions. We do not have to innovate a new way of living for the Lord, we just need to imitate Jesus. For instance, when we see and understand how Christ is other centered in His mindset, by grace we develop an other centered attitude. We look people in the eyes with love and long to know who they are and what makes them feel loved. When facing conflict we default to a prayerful response rather than a prideful reaction. Our imitation of Christ involves submission, training and time.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

Since imitation is such a simple concept to understand, why don’t more Christians act like Christ? Imitation does not happen in an instant or by accident. It is a process of replacing an unhealthy perspective with a healthy viewpoint. For example, if we  struggle with low self worth because of a shame based background, we grow to understand that in Christ we are not condemned. We begin to see ourselves as Jesus sees us: loved, accepted and precious in His sight. Indeed, steps to becoming more like Christ are found in the Bible. Spirit-led learning is our guide to imitating God. 

Yes, our imitation of Christ includes instruction. The ability to apply unchanging truth to our ever changing circumstances is critical to following the example of Jesus. Jesus would only do what His heavenly Father showed Him to do. So, we learn to listen to the Lord through prayer, His Word and other godly or expert advisors. Prayerfully, we mold our attitude around humility and our actions around grace. Like a stellar athlete who carefully clothes herself in a uniform that enhances her success, so we imitate Christ as we clothe ourselves in His character.

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:14).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me into the likeness of Your son Jesus. Give me a humble attitude followed by grace filled actions. 

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

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