I honestly don’t like imitations. Every morning for breakfast, i have two eggo waffles and a cup of coffee. Pretty healthy, right? Well, i did recently switch to low-fat nutri-grain waffles. But, as much as i love this breakfast, just try and switch out my eggos for some cheap store brand version and i’ll flip out. They just don’t taste the same.
I didn’t always eat that for breakfast, though. I remember being a little kid and only wanting to eat Lucky Charms! Remember those? I’d still buy them today if i didn’t look like such a kid when the cashier rings them up. Although, i am having a baby soon…maybe i can sneak them in that way! The problem was my mom was cheap. She didn’t like paying the price of Lucky Charms. So instead she would come home with some Malt-o-meal version of them like “Treasure Marshmallows.” But, you know as well as me that they weren’t quite the same.
I guess that is why when i came across Ephesians 5:1 the other day it kinda bothered me. I’ve read it a hundred times before, but only this time did i realize that i didn’t really like it. It says, “Therefore, be imitators of God…” And if there is anything that i don’t want to be it is a cheap imitation!
I suppose i feel like there is a lot of that out there already, you know? People pretending to be one thing. Imposters. Phonies. Knock-offs. Especially Christians. Doesn’t it seem like every time you turn around you meet someone that is only a cheap imposter of who Jesus was and is? In fact, i am embarrassed to identify myself as a christian most of the time because of all the “imitators” out there.
And yet, Ephesians 5:1 is clearly calling us to be “imitators of God.”
So, i looked in the mirror several weeks ago. And instead of seeing my amazingly handsome, young face looking back, for the briefest of moments, i saw my dad peering back at me. It was strange. It was only for a second, but i could have sworn i saw his face in the mirror i was looking into. And it occurred to me, i am becoming like my dad. In fact, i’ve been a little worried about this before. My hair is turning grey in spots. My abs are reverting from their chiseled beauty to the famous Loyd belly. But, it isn’t just physical. I was talking the other day and i caught myself saying something that my dad always used to say to me growing up. I was sitting in my office when it dawned on me that i have the same profession (if you wanna call it that) as my dad. I took a look around my office and realized my collection of books is catching up to his. But, it isn’t just that either. I was explaining some theology the other day and realized that i approach a lot of my critical thinking the way my dad does. I was counseling someone and noticed i was offering advice my dad has offered to me. In short, i am starting to look, think, act, and enjoy things that are the same as my dad.
Wow! I have tried many times to not be like my dad. Not that he is a bad guy (he is actually a phenomenal man), but because i have wanted to be my own. And yet, whether i want it or not, i have spent so much time with him and have been so influenced by his guidance in my life that i am starting to look like him. In fact, the other day, somebody came up to me and said. “i see a lot of your dad in you.”
I wonder if this is what Paul meant in Ephesians 5:1. What if he didn’t mean a cheap imitation at all? What if he meant that we are to be so absorbed in the relationship with our Creator that we would find ourselves simply thinking and loving and feeling and acting like Him? As if our DNA was being rewritten with His. What if He wasn’t calling for imposters, but for children who grow up with the imprint of their dad.
And so, i now want to be an “imitator.” I want my life to be shadowed by the Divine. I want my life to slowly start to mirror the image of God. I want people at the end of my days to say, “I saw a lot of his God in him.”