Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also has loved you and gave Himself up for us as an offering and a fragrant aroma
Act like you have it and you will get it. We are reluctant to do something until we feel like doing it or it is natural. But this is not how any transformation process takes place. Transformation requires a period of unnatural behavior as you try out the new lifestyle you want to become natural. If you are going to be successful at any change, you must fake it until it is real. You must act as if something is true until you understand how to do the new action naturally. Every new behavior seems awkward at first, but it must be attempted and consistently used before it becomes natural.
If you want to begin being all that God has designed you to be, then you are going to have to begin trying out some behaviors and thought patterns that do not “feel” natural. You will have to understand that in order to become what you have the potential to become, you must begin acting differently than you are right now. What level of success, love, Christ-likeness do you want to have? Act like you have it and you will get it.
Notice the major emphasis here in this passage is on how do I find the motivation to love others who are unlovely to me? Walk in Love: Be like God who loved those who were his enemies until they became His adopted children. In order to be truly successful in this world and in the eyes of God, you and I are going to have to learn to love at a new level. Love means meeting needs, pursuing, and pleasing. When we see a need and we can meet it, we are going to have to meet it even though we do not feel anything at the time for the person. Mimic God and His willingness to meet the greatest need that we had – forgiveness and escape from the just punishment that was coming our way. He met the need.
We often think this applies to our actions towards the down and out, but it applies more to the people currently in our lives. Treating our family members, our spouse, our colleagues, our neighbors, our friends, our acquaintances with love even if we don’t feel like that will bring a revolution in our lives. We are too often waiting for them to love us. Become successful. Love them first.
Each of us has actions, attitudes, and sayings that are completely natural to us and come out of us easily. Some of these are holding us back and need to change. We need to adopt new “unnatural” ways of behaving, speaking, and thinking if we are going to live the life we really want to live. God is saying that the best new “unnatural” ways of acting in order to live a successful Christian life is the actions of God Himself towards us: love, kindness, tender-heartedness, forgiveness, etc.
The proverbs say that the fool subverts his own way and then rails against God. In other words, the fool does foolish things that undermine the life he really wants to achieve and then when his life goes in the toilet, he screams at God for why He let this happen to him. It was not God at all – it was the person and their destructive choices, behavior, and thought patterns.
God wants us to act as if something is true for us until it becomes true. He even cites the example of Jesus who did not want to go through the horror of the Cross but did anyway in order to accomplish the greater purpose. There will be times when you do not love people enough to do what you are being asked to do. Do it anyway. Fake it until it is real. If we wait until the feeling comes or we are perfect at something, we will never act. Transformed people act in the right direction and it becomes more completely their possession.
be imitators: This is the Greek word mimetes, which means imitator, a follower. The idea is clear that we should mimic the actions of God towards us as we learn what He wants us to do. What God would do in this situation or what Jesus would do in a given circumstance is the right question.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.