Text: 2 John; 3 John; Isaiah 32
The letters of John are brief, but contain precious gems. 3 John 11 is one. It says,
“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.”
The idea is that we ought to “imitate” good. This acknowledges that we are not “good” per se, but yet we have the capacity to see it and act like it and grow into it. I recall an expression used by people who are working to make change in their life; “Fake it ’til you make it.”
Human physical activities like walking or throwing a ball are clumsy and awkward at first, but with time and repetition become native to our lives. “Muscle memory” allows our bodies to perform very complex tasks with ease which were at first extremely difficult. Many world class athletes practice and practice the skills of their sport until they become second nature. Along the way, though, they fail, they flounder, they get injured… but they get up and do it over again. Persistence and repetition, over time, bring “imitation” skill to genuine proficiency. What has been imitated becomes reality.
This verse is a great reminder that we can choose to imitate the good, even when it is clumsy. We can even choose to imitate Jesus Himself. When we do this over and over again, knowing we will fall along the way, is how we are transformed from “mere mortals” to image bearers of the King.
So- observe, watch, and imitate Jesus. And keep at it! in Him, Mike