By Melisa Turner
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. ~ Ephesians 5:12 NKJV
In order to imitate someone, we must follow them around, listen to them, observe them. “Job-Shadow” and the annoying childhood game of incessantly repeating and copying everything someone else says and does are good examples of this.
The Apostle Paul would agree.
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. ~ I Corinthians 11:1
So to be an imitator or disciple of Christ we need to spend some time observing, listening and following Him. What Would Jesus Do? This iconic bumper sticker can create guilt and self-doubt. I know what my gut reaction is to this fill-in-the-blank situation but is that what Jesus would do? There is no need to panic. God’s Word is full of what Jesus would do.
It is important to remember that Jesus lived a real earthly life that combined His “ministry” and His “relationship with God the Father” with his everyday ordinary duties.
As Jesus completed the work of His ministry he also:
- became angry without sinning
- argued both religion and politics
- became tired and hungry
- celebrated life –weddings and small children
- mourned the death of a loved one
- preached the Good News
- healed the sick and delivered the oppressed
- found time for solitude and prayer
- included others – sharing his meals and his ministry duties
So we have some answers. Jesus would react in a passionate yet sinless way. He would speak the truth in love. He would sleep, eat, and take long walks. Jesus would celebrate and mourn. He would share the good news, pray for healing and deliverance. He would spend time alone and lift His needs and concerns to God His Father. He would have a close circle of friends who had access to observing his daily life and choices.
What does it mean to be a disciple (follower) of Christ?
Gail Johnsen* poses the question this way: “How do I live in such a way to participate with God and bring about his Kingdom purposes?”
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. ~ Romans 12:1-2 MSG
But thank God! … Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. ~ II Corinthians 2:14 NLT
Discipleship is making ourselves available to God and to others that they might begin to imitate us as we imitate Christ. This availability is sacrificial and the perfume of our lives I liken to our influence.
“The blossom cannot tell what becomes of its fragrance as it drifts away, just as no person can tell what becomes of their influence as they continue through life.”
Mike Breen** has this to say about Discipleship:
“Discipleship is not just sharing information because often gaining more knowledge just creates pride. Discipleship is a way of life that imitates God.”
“If we model Jesus we will spend time with others and invest in them.”
“Evangelism is a lot easier if you start disciplining people when they are still non-believers.”
Being a disciple creates a two-fold challenge to walk in love (which imitates Christ) and allow our life to be an offering or sacrifice (which invites others to imitate us).
It is an offering to intentionally make decisions based on what Jesus would do. It is a sacrifice to slow our everyday, ordinary life down enough to include others.
Jesus spent three years including twelve men in everything He did and His influence on them changed the entire world. Who and what could your imitation, investment and influence change?
What daily task from the WWJD list can you incorporate into your daily life this month?
Who could you slow down for, include, and invest in?
Look for places this month to use your gifts and include others in your daily tasks.
* Gail Johnsen, MSFL, Life Coach, Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Women, Faith Assembly Christian Center, www.keepingcompanywithjesus.com