Bible Reading Blog

Bible Reading Blog

“The Sincerest Form of Faith”

Categories: Congregational Bible Reading

BIBLE READING: Galatians 5.25; Ephesians 2.8-10; Ephesians 5.1-21; 1 John 1.5-2.6; 3 John 1.2-4

Several weeks ago, I took my girls to see “Mary Poppins” at the Opera House in town. It was a favorite of mine growing up and my kids have recently come to love the music. The girls were thoroughly impressed by the actress who played Mary Poppins; but it was the actor who played Bert that impressed me the most. If you’re familiar with the movie, Bert is peculiar but likable. From the thick British street accent and animated facial expressions to his lanky dance style, the original character is utterly unique. And yet somehow this actor managed to capture the essence of Bert. It was obvious he had put in hours of practice to perfectly emulate the iconic character in the way that he walked. I specifically remember one scene when he strutted across the stage with his chimney sweeper in tow, and hand in his pocket where I did a double take to see if that was actually Dick Van Dyke. This man had become his character and it gave the story vibrance and life.

It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; but as a believer, I would suggest that it is the sincerest form of faith. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children…” (Ephesians 5.1). We are on a journey to not only learn from Christ but to become like him, even adopting the way he walked (1 John 2.5-6). In the context of 1 John 2, he tells us what that looks like: Exposing and repenting of sin (1 John 1.5-10) and practicing obedience to the commandments of Jesus (1 John 2.3-4). It is understanding that Jesus was utterly obedient to the Father’s will his entire life and has called us to do likewise (1 Peter 2.21-23).

We must remember that faith is not defined by single event. We crucify the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5.24); but then we continue to take deliberate action day by day (Romans 12.1-2; Galatians 2.20). “If we live by the Spirit, we must also keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5.25). Our walk is more than just our witness to faith in Jesus. It is what determines the outcome of our life. The way that seems right to us will not work (Proverbs 14.12; Ephesians 2.1-3). So, we must daily be directed by the word of God, the example of Jesus and the encouragement of the Spirit to walk the path to God.

Imitating Christ is not an addition to our lives, but an endeavor that will shape who people see when they look at us. We must observe our lives and ask the question: Will people know Christ by the way I walk? Do I promote him through my speech? Do I participate in the things he did? Does my pattern of life reflect where he went, whom he was with, what was important to him? Would others do a double-take because my life looks so much like Jesus?

“…whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2.6)