John 5:19-20, “Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.”
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” Ephesians 5:1
I have known for a long time we are to imitate God if we have accepted Him as our Savior. It hit home recently. I am doing a workbook study called, “Experiencing God” by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King.
In my life I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have asked God to show me His will for my life. Sometimes while waiting for Him to hit me over the head I would go ahead and do what I thought He wanted me to do and often it turned out wrong. When I get ahead of him I find whatever I am doing is a chore and I don’t like doing it. So I stop and then do nothing. I have been frustrated over the years waiting on God to hit me over the head with what He wants me to do.
In the early chapters of the workbook there is section entitled, “What is God’s will? The authors state that we often ask God what His will is for our lives. The authors believe that is the wrong question. According to the authors we should be asking what God’s will is. They go on to say once we know God’s will then we can adjust ourselves to Him. They say the focus needs to be on God not on us. This makes perfect sense to me.
In the first scripture above we see Jesus tell us that He can do nothing by himself. He can only do what He sees His father doing. Jesus didn’t come to earth with His own agenda on His mind. He saw what His father was doing and He did just that; he followed in His father’s footsteps. Now I am sitting here imaging Jesus as a young man (before ministry). He watched what His earthly Father was doing and maybe He imitated Him. How many times do we imitate our parents? Maybe there is someone you admire at church or where you work and you imitate them. That very simply is what God is calling us to do; imitate Him. We come to the second verse found in Ephesians 5:1 and it says we are to imitate God in everything we do.
I believe once we start imitating God we will find ourselves being directed in what we should be doing. Now let me see if I can bring this down to an easy level to understand. Let’s use Jesus imitating His earthly Father. Let’s say as a young boy Jesus chooses to go to the workshop where Joseph is working. He wants to imitate His father. So, Joseph begins to show Jesus how to use the tools correctly and what to do with them. As Jesus becomes more comfortable with the tools Joseph has shown him to use Jesus begins to do the same line of work as Joseph. He might do it differently, but He still accomplishes what Joseph has taught Him to do.
The more we imitate God the closer in relationship we get with Him. The closer we get to Him the more He reveals Himself to us. As He reveals Himself to us He will begin to guide us in the direction He wants for our lives.
In my early years of being a Christian I was too busy learning what it meant to be a Christian. I was learning the basics. I couldn’t lead others to Christ because I was learning myself. Now over the years as I have grown closer He has revealed what it is He wants me to do. I think all He wanted me to do early on was study the Bible, join Bible Studies and learn to pray. That was all He wanted me to do at that time. As I grew in my faith I began to be led to step out of my comfort zone a little at a time. I had to adjust or change a little to do what He was calling me to do. For example, before going on my Walk to Emaus my family was in the number one spot before God. As I drew closer to God he led me to believe my priorities were wrong. I needed to put Him first then my family. As I did that I had a better relationship with both my family and God. Since I had my priorities straight and I was a little closer to Him after my walk I was led to start a Wednesday night Contemporary service and I was the one to give the devotions each week. That was not something I wanted to do, but as I began imitating God, God was beginning to move me in the direction He wanted me to go. As I got comfortable with that then He moved me on into leading Bible Studies. After that it was sharing my faith. Now today I am writing devotions and writing talks for workshops. Early on in my imitating God I would not have been able to do these things because I wasn’t where I needed to be. The more I imitated God the more He would lead me in one direction or another.
As I see God moving in my life I can honestly say I have not had to ask God what His will is for my life because I know in His time He will lead me to the one thing or those things He wants me to do. A couple of years ago I was very comfortable with where I was in my service to Him. I think God had a different plan for me. I also believe He allowed certain things to happen in my life so I could change from where I was to where He wanted me to be. I believe I am serving where He wants me. I am back to sharing my faith, (which I wasn’t able to do before), I am now mentoring a friend at work and I have been told on more than one occasion by more than one person that God sent me there because they needed me. No way am I bragging. What I am doing is showing you as we get closer in relationship with God, as we begin to imitate Him more on a daily basis He will orchestrate where He wants us. He will guide you as well then, one day, like me you will no longer need to ask what God’s will is for your life because you are doing it.
Just don’t get comfortable where you are at because just about the time you get comfortable and get closer to God He will then move you in a different direction or a new direction. I believe the closer I get the more He challenges me to move in a new direction and the harder the challenges. Some of the directions I don’t necessary like. That is when I have to decide if it’s my way or God’s way. I can honestly say when I have chosen my way it often wasn’t pretty.
Remember God doesn’t need us; He wants us. We need God and we need to be in relationship with Him. I hope as you reflect on all of this you will finally stop asking God what it is He wants you to do and begin imitating Him. In the next devotion we will use scripture to see where we can begin imitating God. I hope you come along for the ride. It’s exciting and challenging, but it is also rewarding. When you finally get to the place where you no longer worry about whether or not you are doing God’s will you will find yourself more at peace; it’s the kind of peace the world doesn’t understand.
Finally, the author makes this statement and I will leave you with this, “When you get to the place in your life where you trust Jesus to guide you (through imitating Him) one step at a time you experience freedom.”
Dear God: Thank you for wanting a relationship with me. Thank you for sending your Son down so He can teach me about imitating you. I fail sometimes at imitating you and I am sorry for those times. It is my goal to imitate you daily and to trust you to guide me one step at a time. When I do that I find freedom from worrying and I experience peace. May I begin to imitate you so much others see you in me and less of me. In all these things I pray Amen.