The dictionary defines the word “copy” as a verb meaning “to imitate the style or behavior of”. That’s a pretty simple definition, right? But, I’ve received mixed signals about copying all my life.
When I was in Kindergarten I was given “Copy Work”. The teacher would print letters on a sheet of paper and I was to copy them just as she had printed them.
When I was in 2nd grade I was paddled for letting another little girl copy my homework. (It was the 1980’s- the era of wooden paddles and dirty chalkboards.)
In middle school, I loved to annoy my brothers and sisters by copying them. I’d repeat everything they said. It usually ended with them yelling, “Shut up!” and me smiling and repeating, “Shut up!”
When I was in High School, copying the latest fashion and hairstyles became a very important part of being accepted by my peers.
After High School, I got a job as a waitress and I was assigned to “shadow” a more experienced waitress and to do everything just like she did.
In college, I learned about a little thing called plagiarism. A Big copying no no.
As an adult, I’ve learned the truth about copying. Sometimes it’s good. And sometimes it’s bad. And as an adult, I need to know the difference. I have since learned that the distinction comes from 2 very different verses in the Bible:
In Romans 12:2 (NLT) Paul wrote,
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…”
Then in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV), Paul said, “Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ”.
And therein lies the secret. We are to copy Christ. We are not to copy the attitudes and behaviors of those who do not follow Christ. As we follow Him, He places good Christian people in our lives as examples for us. This tells me 3 things:
- I need to surround myself with good Christian people to follow. (Note: the easiest way to do that is by getting involved in church.)
- I need to BE one of those people. I need to be the kind of Christian that can say, “follow me as I follow Christ”.
- I need to do as Psalm 119:11 says and hide God’s Word in my heart so that I will be able to discern the ways of the world vs. the ways of God.
If you too want to be a copycat for Christ, say this simple prayer with me:
Heavenly Father, Lord, I want to be like You. Help me each day to follow You more closely and to be an example to those around me. Give me a spirit of discernment so that I will not be fooled by the ways of the world or the deceptions of my enemy. In everything I say and everything I do, may I bring glory and honor to You. In Jesus’ name,
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