How to Best Reflect the Love of God to Others

On Halloween night, countless kids will be dressed up in costumes doing their best to imitate their favorite cartoon character, super hero, etc. If they’ve done a good job, we will be able to recognize, at a glance, exactly who they are imitating.

 But Halloween isn’t just for kids. Grown-ups are increasingly dressing up as their favorite TV, movie, and sports personalities—and doing so quite impressively. So when we see a tall, skinny man, dressed in a crushed velvet suit with a top hat and a cane we instantly recognize him as Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Why? The reason he was so recognizable was he devoted himself to learning what Willy Wonka looks like--then went out and got an identical hat, cane, and purple crushed velvet suit, so when people saw him they instantly recognized him as Willy Wonka.

Photo Courtesy of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

It wouldn’t have been enough just to wear any old top hat and suit—and grab any old cane.  The top hat, suit, and cane combo could make us think of a variety of people. We might think of Fred Astaire in Top Hat, Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, or Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka. They all use a top hat, suit, and a cane in their dress, but their characters are so different and imitating them would require careful study to correctly imitate one of those particular characters.

But being imitators is not reserved for people on Halloween or actors in Hollywood. As Christians we are to be imitators of God, by putting on Christ, 365 days of the year. (Rom. 13:14) As people who profess to be Believers, it is so important we correctly represent the Lord Jesus to the people around us. So how do we be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1)? 

While it is good to ask "What would Jesus do?” the best way to imitate God is to devote ourselves to knowing God so we can best represent Him to others, both those who know us and those who don't.

The key way we are going to learn who the Lord is so we can effectively reflect Him to the people around us on a daily basis is by familiarizing ourselves with what the Word reveals about Him. No one can properly imitate someone they are merely "familiar with for the most part". Professional imitators, who imitate celebrities and such,
go to great lengths to study the person they want to imitate to others and do their best to imitate that person. They devote themselves to learning everything they can about the person they are imitating and then they rehearse over and over--always seeking to imitate the person better than before. When we lived in CA, my pastor said "If that is the great lengths a person will go to to imitate another person, how much more ought we to go to such lengths to imitate God?"

May we be like actors, who pour over their scripts to perfect their character, but for us, pour over Scripture meditating on it, memorizing it, praying through it, and studying it so when people see us, rather than us, they will see Jesus. We can better represent and reflect Jesus  if we pour ourselves into knowing Him through His Word. Additionally, we can ask God to reveal Himself to us so we may correctly represent Him to the people He puts in our path so that they, in turn, may be drawn to Christ.  

To be imitators of God, Scripture sums up how to do it this way, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." (Romans 13:14) To help you get a more specific idea of what it means to put on Jesus, to best imitate the Lord, here is an excellent list of what to put off (the things of the flesh) and what to put on (the things of Jesus). God bless you abundantly!

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First Published October 29, 2020

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