My daughters like to watch the TV show, “America’s Next Top Model.” This is a reality show where aspiring models compete to be the top pick and get a modeling contract. Throughout the show they are coached and guided by experts, other models, and people who are experienced in the industry. My daughters have started to pick up on tricks and tips that the models try to implement to create great photographs. We joke around the house about the way to walk, hold your lips, “smile with your eyes,” etc. My daughters are imitating what they are seeing, even playfully, on the screen and letting it inhabit what they do.
I can’t stress enough how much we imitate what we see around us. There are many ministry majors that I have seen at colleges I have worked whose only aspiration was to be a youth minister like the one they had in high school or to be a worship leader like their favorite traveling worship band. The gist of what they are doing is simple imitation. We are hardly capable of our next move without turning it into a form of imitation.
Who are we imitating to Grow Up in our spiritual life? Do we have models of Christlikeness around us? Or, do we have models but not very good ones. I have been in church my entire life and many of the models of Growing Up I have seen around me are rather weak and less than inspiring.
So, if you are a veteran follower of Christ, how are you modeling that reality? Does it reflect the Christ of scripture or the watered-down, culturized Christ American church people have settled on? What Growing Up do you still need to do before you can be a model for others?
And if you are a new Christian, who are you trying to imitate? I would warn you to understand everything you can about Christ from scripture. Then, when you start to see that version of Christ reflected in individuals, then they are worthy of imitation but if not, keep looking.
Our goal is to echo the words of Paul and say, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”