Imitate

September 4, 2020

By: April Rains

Are you a free spirit?   

Are you on a soul-searching quest to live open-minded and to raise the next generation free of restrictive religion that you remember from your youth? If that is you, I hear you. Can we talk for just a minute?

First, let’s talk about your quest. As a free spirit you are probably openminded and, if you are a parent, desire to raise children that really see and love all people and cultures. You want to stand up for injustice and not bury your head when you observe certain cultural and social conditions. You may not see ONE straight path of life and the idea that you only have ONE choice really bothers you.  I hear you.

As we chat, I would like to show you someone that was on a quest very similar.

Let’s really look at JESUS from the Bible. Jesus’ daily life was lived out really SEEING and LOVING others. He didn’t select the elite as his best friends and disciples. He mixed cultures. He respected men and women equally.  He took a stand for injustice. He warned against religious talk. He gave an ear to the little children. He showed kindness, love and grace.  He preached against making the path about the law and made the path ONE choice…but it wasn’t an appalling choice…because it made it about you personally. He made it about your heart, your precious heart, connecting with his heart and walking in relationship together. 

Let’s go back to YOUR quest.

As a free spirit, your desire is not to be just like the culture, right? Jesus was alway unique. He was so different that it made others both question and feel drawn to him.  I bet if you have children they have been drawn to Jesus in spiritual things…maybe music or a kind grandmother’s prayers. That is because they are exploring who they are and as God’s creation they identify with the things of Him. Let them explore this as you would want to explore as a free spirit.

John 11:1 says to IMITATE the good things of God. 

We love when children look cute and imitate good things…but we cringe when they sound just like us in our “not so great” moments, right?!   Can we talk about who you are imitating?   Let’s look around.  In our broken culture many lovely people who want to make a difference are hurting others at the same time they are screaming peace.  Is that who we want to imitate?   

Families are being divided for the sake of “taking a stand,” all the while forgetting the heart of the people in their families are no less important than the social issues or those experiencing injustice.  This is where the quest has to be grounded so that it is not just a noble desire, but it is a quest that changes our heart and turns us toward unity.

Your life will naturally IMITATE something, and I encourage you to look at the life of JESUS and not people. I encourage you to look at JESUS and not even the church, which is made up of imperfect people. The very nature of Jesus was not to be led by what was easy or popular, but it was to genuinely show honor to HIS FATHER GOD IN HEAVEN while giving us a loving EXAMPLE ON EARTH to IMITATE.

Now I would be remiss to ignore the concept of “holy living” that is often the great divide. For a moment, close your eyes and think about someone you love deeply.  When that person is given the same information as you but doesn’t have the same take away…do you hate them? Of course not.  Having differences and calling it hate is a LIE and has been made equal for too long.  This is false language that needs to stop. 

Simply put, a loving God sent Jesus to live and be an example for us to imitate. He then took on the death of the cross because His message wasn’t popular, His ways were culturally dividing…and ultimately, because He loved us so much. He didn’t die so that you could do anything you want, but he died so that you could live WITH Him. He speaks and helps us in our struggles and sins, and we can choose to be a free spirit walking in relationship WITH Him. This is who I want to IMITATE.

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