Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 3 John1:11
Imitation of good is good, but imitation of evil is bad. So look for the good in others and compliment them with imitation. When you copy another’s character, you extend an affirmation of who they are. You validate them when you follow their example. They are encouraged and you are equipped to live a better life. Everyone is happy when imitation of good is applied. But be discerning in your imitation of others. A smile does not assure that someone is good. People may be friendly only for their own sake. A religious person does not guarantee good. Probe their motives for being good, and beware of self-righteousness and performance-driven living.
However, when you discover a good person, you have a gift. Honor them with respect and recognition, and give God the glory for their goodness. If you want to grow as a giver, pray for generous givers whom you can follow. Pray for people from whom you can learn, and emulate their goodness in giving. If you want to grow in your marriage, be around married people who put God first and their spouse second. You are wise to imitate the healthy habits of good people because you can’t be good alone. You need good examples to educate you. Goodness is relative, so make sure their goodness is from God.
Authentic goodness is from God. The Holy Spirit creates godly goodness in the heart of Christ-followers. It is a goodness orchestrated and motivated by Almighty God. Goodness without God is sentimental, shallow, and has no eternal consequences. It is only when your goodness promotes God that you are genuinely good. The God factor is what gives goodness depth and breadth. His goodness travels from one generation to the next. The goodness of God penetrates the hardness of hearts and the most evil of circumstances. It transcends cultures and language. This quality of goodness goes a long way in living, governing, leading, and relating well. When you imitate goodness given by God, you embrace a life with positive eternal consequences.
So, above all else, imitate the goodness of God. Look at the life of Christ and, by God’s grace, seek to imitate Him. Jesus is your model for goodness. Taste the Lord and see that He is good (Psalm 34:8). The goodness of God satisfies your hungry heart. Be cautious not to do good deeds without first receiving the goodness of God in Christ. Your benevolent behavior promotes eternal good only when Christ has conditioned you. Godly goodness flows from the inside out. It is an internal imitation with eternal outcomes. Therefore, imitate good, so when others imitate you they imitate a good thing. Imitation of good begins by receiving Christ into your heart by faith.
The Bible says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to imitate good and reject evil in Jesus’ name, amen.
Application: Who’s negative influence do I need to cease being influenced by and from whom do I need to learn from their positive example?
Related Readings: Deuteronomy 18:9; 2 Kings 17:15; 1 Corinthians 4:15-17; 3 John 1:11