Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 12, 2019
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:11-12
Imitation and perseverance. Two character traits that are intimately interwoven and impossible to truly separate. Think of a young child learning to speak. While aspects of language acquisition are hard wired into their DNA, if left in isolation no child could learn English (or any other language) on their own! The gift of language comes from the example of others- parents, siblings, teachers, all modeling for the young child the power and purpose of language. Yet this gift cannot be given in a single day, week, or even a year. To truly acquire it, the child must marry imitation with perseverance, faithfully watching and listening year after year after year. Only then will they experience the joy of being known and knowing others through the spoken and written word.
The author of Hebrews invites early Christians into a very similar journey to that of learning a language. If you will, the “language of God” requires imitation and perseverance. While I deeply believe that every human being has a built in desire for God, to know him and be known by him, Jesus draws near to us most frequently and consistently through the lived witness of other people. We see the love of God in the selfless love of a parent. We learn how to give our lives away as Jesus did by having people in our lives model selfless service and radical self-abandon. And while we should always be deeply grateful to God for people in our lives worthy of this respect and honor, we must never forget that we are meant to do as they do, to preserve in hope, trusting that the work of God in them will also be the work of God in us.
While we can and should thank God for the heroes of our faith, we must remember that they aren’t simply meant to be placed on a pedestal to be admired but are meant to be a catalyst for our own faithfulness to Christ. God invites us to imitate Jesus by imitating the life of Christ seen in others. Through imitation and perseverance, we learn the language of God, taking our place in a long line of holy, ordinary saints.
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Father, give us the perseverance to imitate Christ in others so we too may be filled with your life, joy, and peace. Amen.
We all imitate someone, for better or for worse. Who are you imitating?
Through imitation and perseverance, we learn the language of God, taking our place in a long line of holy, ordinary saints. #wisdomhunters #imitate
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