We are basically copycats. We see something we like, and we mimic it. We do this in our clothing, our food, our home décor, our choice of vehicles, and many other things. I’m not saying we have no sense of creativity or individuality, but we do pattern ourselves after others. This is never more obvious than when a teen begins spending a lot of time with a new set of friends. It is not uncommon for their clothing choices to reflect their influential peers. They start listening to the music of their friends. They even pick up on the language of the group. Yep, kids are impacted and led by their peers. Aren’t you glad adults aren’t that way? Ummm… wait a minute.
Actually we all get caught up in that. I am not suggesting that is all bad. I think God designed us to be influenced and to influence. One of the ways culture is passed on is through such patterning. This is true in families, churches, communities, and organizations. Children pattern their lives after their parents… even if they don’t want to admit it. While it isn’t always bad, it isn’t always good, and we should choose wisely those whom we pattern our life after.
Rogers Caldwell was a rich man in Nashville. In the 1920s he was worth around $650 million. His hero was Andrew Jackson, and when he built a house, he told the architect that he wanted his home to be just like Jackson’s famous house, the Hermitage. The designer began the project, and Caldwell went to Europe to buy furnishings for the house. When he returned he was impressed to find such a beautiful home. But after walking through the magnificent structure he noticed something was missing and asked the architect where the bathrooms were. The architect said, “You specifically requested a house like the Hermitage. The Hermitage has no inside bathrooms as it was built before indoor plumbing.” The man had spent a small fortune on his dream home, but had patterned it after a house that didn’t have inside bathrooms. You see, Caldwell was building a house in the 1920s patterned after a house Andrew Jackson had built in the 1820s.
Today you will be patterning your life after someone… perhaps several people. Choose your patterns well. There is nothing wrong with picking up good traits from others. That is what we do, and how we avoid reinventing the wheel every generation. But God has called you to a personal walk with Him. Chances are, others would tell you not to be exactly like them. I don’t want my children to be exactly like me. I want to leave a good pattern, but there are some things that don’t need to be passed on and picked up. The apostle Paul wrote extensively on this idea of following Christ and not following the pattern of the world. He wrote this in a letter, “Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2) So God should be our pattern. But in addition to imitating Christ, we should also imitate people who successfully follow Christ. Paul wrote to some other Christians, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.