Imitating

Isn’t it sweet to watch a little child do his or her best to imitate someone they admire?  A little boy may smear shaving cream all over his face with pretenses of shaving.  He wants to be like his Dad.  A little girl is excited to get hold of her mother’s lipstick.  She wants to be like Mom.  Pupils may be inspired by a certain teacher.  They want to study harder, to be like the one from whom they have learned so much.  All though life we meet people, get to know them, and perhaps, if there is something in their lives that we admire, we find ourselves wishing that we could be like that person.

Imitation is said to be the greatest compliment.  To try and emulate someone we hold in high regard and appreciate is a normal human characteristic.  Jesus had something to say about imitation in Matthew 10:25.  He was speaking with  His disciples when He said, “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher.”   In this instance, Jesus was speaking about Himself and of those who learn from Him.  To anyone who knows Jesus and seeks to be like Him, that person is a disciple of Jesus.  To become more and more like Jesus will bring joy and peace to our lives.  To become like Jesus will cause us to want to be a better person tomorrow than what we are today.  There is no higher goal than to be like Jesus.

When we first come to know Jesus, we’re a mere babe in Christ.  We try to imitate Him.  We want to grow into a mature Christian.  We want to talk like Jesus, to make godly decisions, to behave like Jesus.  There will be days of good imitation, and there will be days when Jesus is unrecognizable in our lives.  We all make mistakes.  Sometimes we are even deliberate in turning away from our teacher, Jesus.  We decide that we know best. How blessed we are to have His promise of forgiveness when we sincerely ask Him and determine to strive not to repeat the offense.

There are two things to be said about Jesus and His students: those who forget His teaching are those who grow in personal misery; those who focus on His teaching are those who grow in personal joy.  There is no in-between. Those who remain faithful and diligent followers of the teachings of Jesus are those who maintain the peace of Jesus in the midst of turmoil.  Those who follow His teachings are those who are given the wisdom of God, a holy discernment in matters of this world, and blessings from our heavenly Father that are far beyond anything this world measures as valuable.

The things of this world will pass away.  Things of God live on for eternity.  Let’s keep Jesus as our number one teacher.  Peace in the midst of hurt, holy direction in the midst of worry, and joy of heart in the middle of all life’s turmoil, will belong to every student who seeks to imitate the greatest teacher; Jesus, who said to His students in Matthew 11:29,

“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”   What a promise from our teacher!

 

His Words Made All The Difference

I love the story of how Peter met Jesus.  Peter was a fisherman.  In Luke 5 we read that Jesus walked along the shore and saw two empty boats.  He saw Peter and asked him if he would let Jesus into the boat, and row out a little way so Jesus could better see all the people.  You see, a crowd had followed Jesus and Jesus wanted to address them.  He wanted to speak His truth into their hearts.  He wanted to change their lives for the better.  That’s what Jesus did then, and it’s what He does today.

When Jesus had finished speaking to the crowd he told Peter to cast his net into deeper water.  Peter answered in verse 5, “We worked hard all through the night and we didn’t catch anything. ”  Peter was a professional fisherman.  He knew the water and he knew the fish.  He had been out all night long, working hard, and had come back empty handed.  Then this man Jesus tells him to throw out the nets a bit deeper.  Peter could have politely refused, explaining that his professional experience deemed throwing the net out again as a useless endeavor.  Peter’s response is most interesting and insightful for us.  In verse 5 he tells Jesus that he had worked all night and caught nothing; then he says further, “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”  Another translation puts it this way, “Nevertheless, at your word, I will let down the net.”

What put Peter into action?  What made him do something against his own professional experience?  It was the word of Jesus.  Remember that Peter had heard Jesus speaking to the crowd.  Jesus had stood in Peter’s boat.  Whatever Jesus taught the people that day also made an impact in Peter’s life.  “At your word,” Peter says, “I will do as you say.”  The story goes on to tell us that there were so many fish caught that the nets broke!

Peter had worked hard all night and had nothing to show for it.  Enter Jesus.  He speaks.  Peter obeys.  All is changed.  It’s the same today.  Are you working hard to accomplish something in your life?  Is there some hardship?  Is there some difficulty that you can see no way out?  What can you do?  Let’s learn from Peter.  He paid attention to the words of Jesus.  He chose to do exactly what Jesus said to do.  It made a difference.

I meet people who share with me that they are going through hard times.  After a few questions, I often find that they are paying no attention to the teachings of Jesus.  Someone once said to me, “I’ll get my problems sorted out and then I’ll turn to Jesus.”  Wrong way around!  Come to Jesus first, and then let Him guide you through your problems.  Let Him give His guidance as to what you should do.  We have an entire book from Genesis to Revelation of God’s own words.  It’s full of guidance and comfort.  It always points in the right direction.  It can never be wrong.

Jesus’ words made all the difference to Peter.  His Words are still changing lives today.