(This post was contributed by my husband, Michael Cotten. lt first appeared on his personal blog, www.macotten.com, on May 24. I hope it blesses you as much as it did me!)
Have you ever noticed how little children mimic and imitate their parents? It’s how they learn to talk, walk and relate to the world. God puts it in their hearts to do that. Even after all these years, I still see my Father in the walk and mannerisms of my brother, Wes. It’s an unconscious gift, this imitation and has the effect of creating a living remembrance of our Fathers and Mothers.
Even as this is true in the natural, it’s also true in the spiritual realm. Paul said “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 ESV) This is a bold statement and at first glance seems to be prideful and a little egotistic. I certainly reacted that way the first time I read it! But there’s more.
“For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.” (1 Corinthians 4:15–16 ESV)
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.'” (John 5:19 ESV)
This is true imitation! Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father doing. In this statement, He also sets the pattern we’re to follow with Him. As I see Him only doing what the Father is doing, so I desire to only do what I see Jesus doing. And so Paul says to the Corinthians, “Be imitators of me . . . “
Then we are drawn to the conclusion that we have to get integrity — that means the inside life matches and is in unity with the outside picture. That is, what is on the inside is true to my words. There are multitudes of people in this world who are crying out for someone to believe in — just somebody who is not going to fall by the wayside; who is not going to sell out their life, ministry and integrity for a bit of momentary passion.
If we are not saying to someone, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” we have not yet seen the fullness of our call to Disciple the Nations.
Michael and I will be hosting The Legacy Conference September 28-30, 2012 at Ridgecrest Conference Center. Registration goes live June 18. Check back here for details.