Yesterday, I saw an endearing video. A woman was exercising, and her young daughter was following along. The child, let’s call her Lucy, appeared to be around three years old. As Mom finished a movement and prepared for the next exercise, so did Lucy. Mom positioned a large dumbbell on its side and, watching closely, Lucy did the same with a smaller weight—one more suitable to her adorable size. When Mom picked up the weight and started squatting, so did Lucy. The child watched her mom, trying to replicate the behavior of a woman she admired and loved. Lucy was imitating her mom, and I imagine it was out of a desire to be like her.
After my initial sappy feelings and expressions of how cute the video was, God brought the words of a Bible verse to mind. It was Ephesians 5:1. Below, I’ve included some additional verses for context:
God wants us to be imitators of Him, “as beloved children.” God is loving, and when we imitate Him, we walk in love. So how do children imitate their parents, and what does it mean for us to imitate God as children?
Here are six things we can learn about imitating God from the way Lucy imitated her mom:
1) Watch His Set-Up
Before the movement started, Lucy saw how her mom had positioned both the weight and her body. Then, Lucy set herself up the same way. She saw her mom’s wide stance and did the same. We don’t always know what our next move is, but if we follow our Father God’s set-up, we will be ready to move when He moves.
2) Wait on His Timing
Continuing from point one, once we are in position, wait on God’s timing. Sometimes, we want to jump the gun or do things our own way. When we imitate God, as beloved children, we move when He moves, just as Lucy watched and did each squat as her mom did.
3) Follow His Lead
During the video, Lucy didn’t take matters into her own hands and start her own fitness revolution. Instead, she followed Mom. When Mom picked up a weight, she picked up a weight. When Mom squatted, she squatted. It may be tempting to construct our own plan, but remember that God’s way is best. Trust His lead. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’”
God has the best plans for our life. If we follow His lead, He will show us the way.
4) Align Your Form with His
Lucy watched her mom, trying to move like she moved–seeking to replicate her form. When we walk with God, we seek to align our form with His. By this, I mean our thoughts, words, and actions. How do we do that? Alignment of those three things stems from alignment of the most important thing of all: our heart. When our heart is aligned with God’s, it is evident in our thoughts, words, and actions.
As it says in Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
Let’s seek to move in the same way that our Father moves. In our verses at the beginning, it says that God forgives, which means we should forgive each other. Jesus loves us and gave Himself for us, so we should love each other. When we watch our Father God, and imitate Him, we seek to move the way He moves. How do we know the way He moves? Through His word (the Bible) and by spending time with Him. By spending time with God, and reading His word, we get to know Him. The more we know Him, the better we can imitate Him.
5) Keep Your Eyes on God
As Lucy was squatting, she kept turning her head to Mom. Keep your eyes on God. This is how we will remain in step with His movements. If Lucy stopped watching, Mom could have started a new movement without her realizing it. When we keep our eyes on God, we’re prepared to remain in step with him through the entire “workout.”
6) Let Your Obedience Flow from a Joyful Heart
Something I admire about children is their joy. I imagine that Lucy was imitating Mom because she loved her and wanted to be like her. When young ones imitate their parents, it’s out of affection and admiration. In the same way, let’s seek to imitate God from a genuine place of love, affection, and admiration. Because we love Him, and as His children, want to be like our awesome Father.
Next time you see a child imitating their parent or parents, I hope this verse comes to mind. It’s such a sweet reminder of how our relationship with God can be. Let’s keep our eyes on Him, and behave in the way that Jesus modeled. When we are imitators of God, we forgive, show mercy, extend grace, and love each other.
And above all, we love Him too!