Recently I took a friend’s dog for a walk in a nearby park. It was a beautiful day, and though cool and windy, people were out and about enjoying the welcome sunshine and blue skies. Teenage boys were kicking a ball, smaller children were swinging, older people were strolling about or sitting on benches, obviously enjoying both the welcome warmth of the winter sun and the sounds of children playing.
On one bench, there sat a young mother. A buggy, with a very small and snuggly wrapped sleeping baby, was at her side. A dog on a long leash, tied to the buggy, was enjoying his sniffing pursuits. A little girl sat on the bench next to her mother.
I noticed the little girls hands moving furtively in front of her. It seemed a strange gesture. It kept me staring. What was she doing? How odd. As I neared, all became clear. Her mother was knitting. The little girl had found two thin sticks and she was “knitting” too, doing her best to copy the movements of her mother’s hands. It wasn’t at all a bad imitation. One day, I thought to myself, the little girl will no doubt be knitting for real, replicating her mother’s work.
That’s what happens to us in our spiritual endeavors. We cannot display the character of our heavenly Father in our lives, unless we try. We cannot know His ways and how to walk in them, unless we make the attempt. We cannot grow in His wisdom, unless we practice the above. We learn and grow stronger in the things of God by our resolute imitation of Him and His ways.
Like the little girl copying her mother’s knitting movements, we must imitate the ways of our Father before we can walk in the freedom of His ways, display His character in our lives, or recognize the wisdom of His guidance. It all takes practice. It all takes imitation to set us on the path to the real thing happening in our lives.
The Apostle Paul encouraged us in Ephesians 5:1-2. “Imitate God in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.”