Be Careful Who You Imitate

To imitate is to mimic, simulate, or reproduce closely. When you imitate something, you’re following it as a model.

Little boys often imitate to the point of being little “carbon copies” of their fathers. When little girls ask to play with makeup, they’re often doing so in order to mimic their mothers. Listen to little boys play long enough, and you’ll eventually hear something simulated … from dad. Listen to little girls play long enough, and you’ll eventually hear something resembling … mom.

To imitate is to impersonate–to take some characteristic, quality, or attribute of another and reproduce it in your own “person.”

All of which leads us to 3 John 11 and a valuable bit of God-breathed direction for the day.

Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.

We are walking through an evil world today. We will interact with people today who have given themselves over to evil. Our minds and hearts may be alluringly tugged in the direction of evil today. Evil is an imitation of the devil.

Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.

It’s the same encouragement Paul made in Philippians 4:8-9.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Today, I’m blessed with a choice: who or what will I imitate? Today, I’m blessed with an opportunity: in my own heart, in my own little niche of the world, to avoid being “overcome by evil” and to “overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21). Making that difference begins with refusing to imitate evil and setting my heart on the imitation of good.

Who will you most resemble today? In the way you conduct yourself? The way you treat others? The way you react to blessing and frustration? Are there excuses that need to be left behind? Old crutches that need to be discarded? Bad examples that need to be forsaken?

Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.