To know how to follow in Christ’s footsteps, we must first comprehend what God says “about the imitation of Christ” and how it relates to our own lives. Imitating Christ means striving for the betterment of mankind and living with a sense of morality rooted in Christ, love, and charity.
We’ll consider the value of following Christ’s example. And we will assess our level of faithfulness to God. We’ll examine ourselves and consider whether or not we have been serving God.
The apostle had said, "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore imitators of God, as dear children." Ephesians 5:1-2.
Remember, God has forgiven us our sins by giving His Son Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins. Christ died for you so that you might live. He has forgiven you; therefore, imitate him.
Definition of Imitation of Christ
The Oxford dictionary defines “imitation” as the action of using someone or something as a model. Thus, imitation of Christ is simply following Jesus and allowing Him to be the Lord of your life.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-14.
Overview of the Imitation of Christ
If you are not imitating Jesus, then who will you imitate, given that Christ is the head of all principalities and powers? There is no in-between; you are either imitating Christ or you are not. Whatever it is that is contending with you and trying to stop you from imitating Christ is not from God. It is a different spirit, whose main goal is to see that you do not end up in the kingdom of God.
How can you then resist this opposing force if you are not a member of the church? You must come to Jesus so that, through the power in His name, you can overcome all the forces that oppose your ability to imitate Christ.
History of the Imitation of Christ
God has historically called us to be carbon copies of Himself. We were created in His image and likeness. You and I both look like God. Even the Bible says that you are God. “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Psalm 82:6.
Now, to fully understand how to follow the example of Christ, we must first comprehend what His message was and how it applies to our own lives. It is critically important to know that Jesus came to this world to save sinners. And now that he has left the world, it is critical to remember him in our work.
How to Imitate Christ
Knowing how to imitate Christ is essential if we are to serve Him well. But how can you follow in Jesus’ footsteps as the good shepherd? God’s will for your life is written in His Word, but beyond the Word, God will connect with you on a personal level to the extent that the Spirit of Christ will teach and comfort you.
God wants to connect with you personally. Will you allow him? But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).
You will become a son in the eyes of God if you have resolved to know Him. He said, “Seek me, and you will find me.” A sincere desire is your starting point for knowing the Father. Therefore, to seek Him, you must meditate on His Word, pray without ceasing, and be obedient in telling others about Christ and your testimonies of what God has done for you. The beauty of this is that you will win souls for the kingdom of God.
The Bible is our go-to place to know the mind of God. Furthermore, we must listen to the voice of the Spirit of God in our hearts to know what Christ’s mind is because no one knows what God’s mind is except the Spirit of God, which is within man.
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:11-12.
So, we see that the human spirit only knows the thoughts of man. However, if you want to understand what God thinks, it is communicated to you by His Spirit. It is so because our bodies are the temples of God. Therefore, we must endeavor to imitate Christ in all that we do. When we open our hearts to Him, God’s Spirit guides and directs us in the ways of righteousness.
Do you not know that your body is the temple of The Spirit of Holiness who dwells within you, whom you have received from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:9. If our bodies are God's temples, then we must mind those things that give Him glory. The imitation of Christ is only possible if we allow the Spirit of God to lead us. No man can serve two masters; you are either for God or against Him.
As we go into the new year, make up your mind to seek after God. Seek to do His will, and trust that, in time, God will make known to you what it is He desires of you. Open your heart to Jesus in all that you do this new year so that God’s Spirit will guide and direct you in righteousness. Without holiness, no one can see God.
Why Is It Important to Imitate Christ
The benefits of imitating Christ are too many. But the one I’d like to talk about today is the power to live above sin, which God will give to those who diligently seek Him. The Bible says that our spirits are willing to serve God but that our flesh is weak. As a result, no man can satisfactorily serve God outside of His Spirit. If you try to do it with the energy of the flesh, you will fail.
Before the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the apostles of Jesus themselves struggled. But when Jesus ascended to heaven and bestowed the Holy Spirit on them, their lives were forever changed. Similarly, you must come to God through His Spirit if you are to be regarded as a son.
Despite the power of Jesus’ presence, the apostles lacked something important to effectively reach out and spread His message: the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Let’s see this verse of scripture:
"And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:40-41 KJV.
They were therefore feeble because they lacked power, which was the cause of their weakness. And the Spirit of God is that power that was lacking in their lives. Therefore, it is important to imitate Christ if you want to walk in God’s power. Jesus knew their struggle and thus promised them that after His ascension to heaven, the Holy Spirit would be sent down upon them, and through Him, they would find strength and guidance.
It is this strength and guidance that we need in these last days if we are to serve God acceptably. For some, their spirit is willing, but they are weak in the flesh to serve God. There is a conflict that goes on in the heart and mind of every Christian. This war is even worse for the sinner who has yet to know Jesus. Thus, it is important to imitate Christ because, in doing so, God will endow you with the power to live above your flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:17.
You see, you cannot serve God successfully in the flesh because of the ongoing war between the flesh and the tyrants of this world. Ordinarily, your flesh wants pleasure, most of which does not glorify God. So, indulging in those things that do not give God glory will further take you away from the center of His will.
Only when a person leaves this world will the ongoing conflict between the world and the flesh come to an end. When it happens, judgment follows. The good news is that you have the willpower to resist any temptation because God has given it to you. If you are in Christ, your fleshly desire cannot prevail over you.
The “will” given to you operates most effectively inside of Christ because it is the Spirit of Christ who has access to God’s mind. The Holy Spirit will therefore guide you in resolving any situation in life.
Benefits of Imitating Christ
In the absence of anything else, one benefit of imitating Christ is that God will help you live a victorious life in this world and the one to come. Heaven is the destination for God’s children. You are guaranteed eternal life in Christ if you choose to walk in the Spirit of God. The key to your success in life is to imitate Christ.
The imitation of Christ would mean that you are not walking in the flesh because God says so. And if you’re not walking in the flesh, it means God is determined to keep you.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Romans 8:9-10.
The Scriptures say your body is dead to sin because Christ is at the center of your life. And if Christ is for you, who can be against you? No one. God is greater than everything. Choose to be in Him, and your life will be hidden in Christ and then in God. Galatians 5:16: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
The benefit of imitating Christ is that you will not do everything that comes to mind. You will be able to discern which thoughts are God’s and which are not. The gift of discernment is a special gift of God given to us by the Holy Spirit, which aids our walk with Him in this world.
Themes of the Imitation of Christ
Becoming an imitator of Christ is a profound spiritual journey. Thus, as we go into the new year, I want you to give some thought to how you can become imitators of Christ as God’s dear children. One way we can do this is by developing our discernment.
You must humble yourself before God in order to resist the power to imitate Christ. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18).
Eschew disobedience so that God can use you. Being humble before God is a necessary part of being able to imitate Christ’s example. God hates every form of disobedience, and he hates evil as well. Therefore, as you go into the new year, resolve to do only the things that please Him.
Make up your mind to serve God. Give your life to Christ if you are not born again. You cannot partake in the things of God if you haven’t given your life to Christ first.
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:27 KJV. By humbling ourselves before God, we can resist the power of fake imitation and emulate Christ in our daily lives. The spirit of fake imitation is of the devil.
If we humbly submit ourselves to God, then His power is made perfect in our lives and can be used to resist the temptations of the world.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Ephesians 2:2.
We are imitators of Christ if we love God and man as we love ourselves.
John 15:12: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." Luke 6:31 says, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." 1 Corinthians 16:14: Do everything in love.
God is the personification of love. If not for the love that He has for us, the whole of the human race would have been wiped off the surface of the earth. Why? because humans are stubborn by default. The reason for our disobedience is that our human nature is conspicuously rebelling against the will of God to fulfil the lust of the flesh.
On the contrary, the spirit of disobedience that causes hatred, evil, and violence in men will be destroyed according to the Word of God, as referenced below.
"And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever." Revelation 19:1-3 KJV.
It is as a result of the works of this whore that many have shunned good and chosen evil. In the verses cited from Revelation, it is clear that “the great whore” is symbolic of all things bad and wicked, for her smoke rises forever as a reminder of her sins.
We cannot love as God would have us love apart from Christ. To walk in the love of God, first of all, you must be born again. Your mind must be renewed by the power of His word. Then you’ll seek righteousness. As the Apostle Paul pointed out, love is a powerful gift to have or to imitate in Christ: 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
What is stopping you from loving God and your neighbor? At the root of hatred is sin. Referring back to the verse of scripture in Revelation 19, we see that the whore is strongly behind the evil mechanization that men do. To walk in love, you must consciously put aside the things that are not of God and choose the things that are.
The whore of Babylon, a symbol of materialism and consumer culture, serves as an example of what can happen when people allow themselves to be deceived and corrupted by the forces of evil. The ways of this “whore” refer to those who abandon their true devotion to God and instead live by the ways of the world, in sin and debauchery.
Because of possessive behaviors, some men can go against their brothers and not love them. If you are to love as God demonstrates in our lives daily, then we must learn to see that our lives do not consist of the abundance of things that we have.
Resolve to do better this new year. Flee from all forms of evil and live for God because a day is coming when the Lord will judge all men according to their works. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9:17 KJV.
The imitation of Christ requires that we trust Him. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. Mathew 6:24.
Trust God; believe what the Bible says concerning your life. Do not try to bend the word of God to suit you. Take it as it is. In case you don’t know, heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s word will not.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3, verses 16–17.
Significance of the Imitation of Christ
For centuries, the church has taught its followers to emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ in their everyday lives. The imitation of Christ reminds us that the Christian life should be lived according to God’s will and not our own.
How the Imitation of Christ has Impacted the Christian Faith
The imitation of Christ has positively impacted lives over many generations. God’s promises are there for all to see. There are requirements for obedience as well as consequences for disobedience. Christianity’s influence has positively impacted the Christian faith in the sense that we have hope for a better life after our time on earth.
To escape the wrath of God, you must be willing to shun sin. God judged Noah faithful and so spared both him and his household from destruction when the heavens sent down rain to destroy the earth at the command of God.
In like manner, when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot, Abram’s nephew, was spared because he did not partake of the sins of the land. The Scriptures that follow paint a clear picture of what happens to anyone whose heart turns away from God to serve Satan.
"lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: the LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven." Deuteronomy 29:18-20 KJV.
Failing to imitate Christ has severe consequences because the result is damnation caused by sin. If, however, we choose to imitate Christ, God will give us the power to live above sin so that it does not rule over us to our condemnation. So choose today to follow Jesus, and God will keep you from the impending danger of the judgment.
The imitation of Christ is important to the church, as it allows us to not only learn from his teachings and his example but also to follow in His footsteps.
How the Imitation of Christ has Impacted Society
The imitation of Christ has impacted society in that many today have heard the Word of God and have given their lives to Jesus. By giving our lives to Jesus, we make society a better place to live since good men’s deeds have triumphed over evil men’s actions. Therefore, if not for the Word of God, the world today will be inhabitable because men will just choose to follow their fleshly desires, which most of the time do not honor God.
God, on the other hand, stands over and watches over His word, ensuring that it is fulfilled. Jeremiah 1:12. Today’s society is much better because the Holy Spirit guides it through the power of the Word. See what Jeremiah says:
Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts. Jeremiah 2:19.
So, if you want to imitate Jesus as the good shepherd, decide to live your life by His Word. In case you’ve not made peace with God, please do so now because time is running out on you. If you confess Jesus with your mouth and believe that He died and rose from the grave to save you, you are God’s own.
"But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:8-11, 13 KJV.
The imitation of Christ gives better hope, which leads to a safer society for all to live in. Additionally, imitating Christ provides a path to moral perfection, which can have lasting effects on our society.
Summary of the Imitation of Christ
Here is the summary for our topic on the imitation of Christ, which will be briefly summarised under two headings.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12.
You cannot fulfill your life outside of Christ. In order to please God this new year, look to Jesus. The imitation of Christ will culminate in a life well lived before God. It is God who knows the path of life. He knows all things and will thus ensure that you arrive safely at your life’s destination.
There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. Job 28:7, 23.
It is important to imitate Christ if you want to be successful in life. Moreover, God has the instruction manual for life because He created it. Therefore, trying to live life outside of Christ is foolish, especially if it is done knowingly. Even now, the Bible says the times of ignorance are over and that God is calling all men to repentance. No more delayed obedience.
So if you want to imitate Christ, you must first repent. And if God is on your side, you can be confident that your future is better. It benefits us to be imitators of Christ.
Summary of How the Imitation of Christ has Impacted Society
God has always led the rulers of any nation that has made the decision to follow Christ. He has guided them and shown them how to create a thriving society. Contrast this with those nations of the world that refused to honor God; their situation hasn’t improved. It is through the righteousness of any nation that God exalts it.
For those of you who have made up your mind to follow Jesus this new year, the Lord will lead you divinely. He will reveal the way of life to you so that you can please Him in all things.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11.
If God shows you the way of life, you will soar as high as an eagle. Our society will be better because good men thrive. The imitation of Christ will pave the way for any society that’s founded on the Word f God. By taking the example of Christ and living out his teachings, any society can find success.
Isaiah says, “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there” Isaiah 35:8-9.
God will preserve any person or society that decides to imitate Christ in their policy-making. By imitating the character of Christ and placing faith in God’s guidance, we can bring about a better society, one that is characterized by justice, compassion, and righteousness.
The idea of striving for a moral life and following the way of Christ is deeply embedded in Psalm 16:11. God will show you and/or society the way of life; He will fill you with joy in His presence and eternal pleasures at His right hand. No devil shall be present in that society, nor shall any ravenous beast ascend and succeed, because the Lord is present in their midst. Only the redeemed will be able to enter.
Finally, none of these are applicable to you if you haven’t given your life to Jesus. So, you must come to God through Jesus in order to partake of His blessings. Remember earlier, we talked about how the apostles couldn’t keep awake in prayer because their flesh was weak?
Despite the power of Jesus‘ presence, the apostles lacked something important in order to effectively reach out and spread His message: the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, your imitation of Christ in your life is what you need to be successful in this world. It is the imitation of Christ and the obedience to His word that will make God fill you with His perfect Holy Spirit.