You Don’t Have to Be Good, Just Imitate It!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “She is a naturally cheery/kind/good person?” This phrase makes it seem like some people are just born with a genetic pre-disposition to be nice and others are born with the mean gene. The truth is: the nature of all men’s flesh is sinful. We want to do whatever we want (whatever makes us feel good) and the sinful nature of man is in constant war with the Spirit of God within us (paraphrased from Galatians 5:17). Sometimes the good thing to do makes us uncomfortable (like the shy person apologizing when bumping into a stranger).
I think of my one-year-old son as his eyes fix on my lips trying to form the sounds I make, he is imitating his father. His speech is not speech yet, but he imitates my words and sounds. Soon, he will be speaking. He will be a speaker. He was not born a natural speaker, but through imitation he will have learned how to speak.
How then do we become that cheery person, that kind person or that good person? We have to “imitate what is good [I John 1:11]!” We have to imitate the Heavenly Father. How do we imitate an invisible Father? We saturate our hearts with his Word (the Bible) so that his nature is clear to us, so that we see people through the eyes of the Father’s love. Then folks will say that we are “naturally good.” And it will be true! We will have replaced our sinful nature (blanket following the pattern of the world) and will have conformed our minds to the Word of God.
No one starts good; some just have more good people in their lives to imitate and learn it earlier. They are not naturally good, they are privileged. They are seeing living examples of parts of the Word. But Jesus is the only perfect model for imitation. Jesus is a complete version of God’s living Word. And he is the only one that is available to all men no matter where they are from.