Thursday thoughts: 'Be an imitator of God' because it might be the only glimpse of Him that some people ever see


Isn’t it funny how children imitate adults, sometimes not in a good way?

I remember a certain incident when our youngest child, Missie, was little and in kindergarten. She had a cute, short bob haircut. We noticed Missie started to “pretend” flipping her hair like she had long hair. We couldn’t figure out why she was doing this until we went to an open house at the school. Her teacher had long straight hair and she would flip it behind her ears and then behind her back. We instantly realized where Missie had learned this habit.

I see my grandchildren imitate others quite frequently, and most of the time they imitate Wayne or me. They love to dress up in my shoes, jewelry, and use my makeup. I don’t know why, but they do. They also love to imitate Wayne, whether it’s sleeping in the recliner or the way he does the nightly “door check” to make sure we are safe.

Another one of their favorites is to imitate (by which I mean make fun of) the way we say certain words. Don’t ever ask Lottie to say paper towels. Evidently, I have a noticeable accent when I say that. They have all imitated the two youngest grandchildren who as toddlers couldn’t say certain names correctly. There is Laney who they call Naner. There is Blakeley who they all call Bakee. This is all because they imitated how another child pronounced a name and it has stuck to this day. It’s just funny how they mimic things they see and hear.

I was thinking about this in the context of adults, as well as children. I know we ladies can look at how someone else styles their hair, wears their makeup, or even how they dress and we might want to mimic those same looks. I also think men might do the same thing but with accomplishments in sports or their job. I don’t think we realize that what we do, what we say, and how we act significantly affects others, in positive and negative ways.

In Ephesians 5:1-2, it says, “Be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and gave Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” I looked up the word imitate and the definition is “follow as a pattern, model or example.” Just as our children, grandchildren and others watch and imitate our behaviors and actions, we, as believers, should be following the model and example of Jesus and imitate Him.

I feel like the Lord has impressed upon my heart several things as I have thought about this verse. First, we must be imitators of God, not others. Our desire should be to have others see Jesus in us so they would want to follow Him. I feel like when scripture says be imitators of God, we have to KNOW Him to imitate Him. The only way we can let others see Jesus in us is to spend time with Him, study His Word, and have a relationship through prayer with Him.

So many times I let what others think about me affect me and usually it turns out affecting me negatively, as I think that is what Satan wants. The truth is that if I am in the Word I know what Jesus thinks of me and will know how He wants me to act. He wants me to strive to be like Him. When I consider what others think of me it usually causes me to be upset and distressed because honestly I can’t measure up or meet others' standards.

When I consider what Jesus thinks of me and desires for me it gives me hope and encourages me to be the best I can for Him because I know He loves me. Be an imitator of God, not others.

Another thing the Lord has taught me through this verse is to “walk in love.” It doesn’t say “run in love or race for love.” It says "walk in love." The phrase “walk in love” makes me believe it’s a process and a lifestyle. When I am walking, I usually notice the things around me and am more aware of my surroundings. When I am “walking in love” I am able to see the needs around me, take time to stop and check on others, enjoy the creation God has blessed me with, and take the time to meet a need, speak to a stranger, or lend a hand.

If I am rushing and racing through I tend to miss these things. My mind is on the destination and not the road I am on. I need to stay focused as I walk to be able to share the love of Jesus. I don’t want to miss an opportunity for God to use me in the life of another person. I need to love like He loves. We don’t need to be a spectator in this life - we need to strive to become an imitator of God.

If I am going to be an imitator of God, I must walk being aware and looking for ways to share His love. Isn’t this what we should all do? Let me just say I am happy to let my grandchildren play dress up with my shoes and jewelry, make fun of the way I say things, and anything else. I just pray they see Jesus in my life and learn that the most important thing is to imitate Him.

What about you? Who are you imitating? Be an imitator of God. It might just be the only glimpse of Him that some people ever see. 


Jill Johnson, a staff member at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, finds spiritual applications in her everyday experiences as a wife, mother, grandmother and Georgian. She is available to speak to your church's women's gatherings. Reach her at