Who Are You Imitating?
Everyone allows others to influence them to a certain degree. From my observance as you get older people have less influence on you. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is good that when we get older people with ungodly habits and ideas can’t influence us. It is also a bad thing that we can get so set in our ways that our Christian growth slows down or stops because others can’t influence and lead us.
What I have noticed is that most of us imitate others in our lives. The men of my wife’s family have a very unique way of squatting. I have never really seen anyone else look as comfortable as they do squatting. My 13 year old son has squatted exactly like them since he was a small boy. The imitation can’t be missed.
Preachers often imitate others. In my life I have patterned my preaching style after a couple of men who though brilliant magnify their simple ways and country raising in their preaching. These two men are Drs. Bob Pitman and Jerry Vines. They are brilliant but when they preach they come across so unassuming, with a country flair. Dr. Pitman has a certain way he holds his hands when he tells a story. I often find myself holding my hands that way. Alas, though I imitate these two men I have never been able to approach their preaching ability at all.
Who do people imitate the most in America today? I have thought about this a little this week. I am convinced good teachers still have young people that imitate them. A man or woman who is serious about the teaching profession will have young adults imitating them. Parents have kids imitating them. It may almost be by osmosis but our kids model our behavior and actions. Parents, we need to remember this as we live our lives in front of our kids.
I am afraid I see a trait in many Americans that comes from imitating athletes, arrogance. We have devolved into an arrogant society in America. Part of the blame is because we imitate athletes. Many athletes appear to be the most arrogant people in America. No other job lets you openly praise yourself and celebrate your accomplishments. Johnny Manziel makes the money sign with his fingertips following a play. Cam Newton imitates Superman taking his clothes off to reveal his identity after scoring a touchdown. We see hundreds pound their chest, shoot imaginary arrows into opponents and run away from their teammates into the middle of the field so all eyes will be on them alone. To be fair I am sure many of these guys are humble off the field. However, America is imitating them on the field. Can you imagine a preacher acting like he is tearing open his suit to reveal he is superman after someone joins the church? Can you imagine nurses running toward each other and jumping into the air bumping their chests together after giving an injection? How about a mechanic dropping on one knee and giving the number one sign following an oil change? This would be absurd.
Paul gives us instructions in Philippians 3:17 “Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.” I challenge all of us, especially young people, to follow the example of Godly people and not just the latest celebrity to come our way.