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Join Awaken Church as we read the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in 2020. Download the #AwakenBible2020 plan at awaken.church/bible2020.

Each week I share a thought from the previous week’s reading here.

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Jimmy Fallon got his start in comedy by entering a celebrity impersonation contest. If you watch any of the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, you know he’s still amazing at impersonations.

A major theme of Paul’s letters is following his example through imitation. In fact, 8 times in his letters, he encourages those he writes to to imitate him, others, and Jesus (1 Cor 4:16, 11:1, Eph 5:1, Phil 3:17, 1 Thess 1:6, 2:14, 2 Thess 3:7, 9). 

It’s important to note that Paul urges them to imitate him, not impersonate him. There’s only a few letters different between those two words, but there’s a big difference in meaning.

Dictionary.com defines “impersonate” as “to assume the character or appearance of; pretend to be.” The definition of “imitate” is noticeably different. It means “to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example.”

Paul’s goal in urging imitation is to not to take on his mannerisms, style, and look, but to use his life as a model or a pattern for their own godly living.

Paul is a great example for us to imitate even to this day, but there are some major limitations. We are 2,000 years removed from him and he lived in a different culture and spoke a different language.

With that being said, two important questions come to mind:

Do you have someone to imitate?

Have you prayerfully sought out someone in your life who seems to live a life worthy of your imitation? You’re not impersonating them, but you are seeking to imitate some of their habits, relationship rhythms, and their general lifestyle. It goes without saying that Jesus and Paul are worthy of our imitation, but who else is currently in your life that you can learn from? If you don’t know of anyone, pray for them. God will lead you to them. If there is someone in your life, talk with them about this idea and get together with them more often.

Are you someone worth imitating?

Oooohh. That got real personal real quick, didn’t it? Not only should we be imitating someone else, learning from their example, but the goal is that we would live a life worthy of someone else’s imitation. A good way to help you gauge where you are on this is to ask yourself this question: “If someone patterned their life, habits, and relationships off of mine, would they be growing healthier and closer to Jesus or not?” Answer it honestly, then adjust accordingly.