Much, if not most of what we learn in life comes through the process of repetitive imitation.
John 8:38 – I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
How did you learn to walk, to talk, to eat with table utensils, to write, to spell, to cipher? Yes, your brain is a marvelous component of all you’ve learned, but most of it flows through some type or repetitive imitation. Even without realizing what we do, we learn be imitating that which we see, and repeating that process again and again until we master it to some degree. I remember from my childhood a phrase often spoken when such repetitive imitation was witnessed. People would often say, “Monkey see, monkey do.” To some degree it has been absolutely proven. Some of the higher apes have actually learned to communicate with humans in sign language. We use repetition to train horses and dogs. It is commonly known. And yet, we as human beings don’t seem to grasp the importance of, not just the repetition that develops memory patterns, but of modeling that which should be imitated. It is human failure to fully grasp the work of modeling that sadly impacts so many human beings.
Parents model before their children, famous athletes before those who follow their achievements, trainers at all performance levels are modeling before someone that which will be imitated. And it’s not just the performance of parenting, athletic, or some other DESIRABLE skill, it is the performance of every act, and that includes the undesirable, unacceptable behaviors that are disdained, despised, and despicable. In fact, life in general is an imitated act by some observer of what has impacted them through their observations, both good and bad, both right and wrong.
Can we learn from Jesus? He only did what He saw His Father do. He only spoke that which He had seen with His Father. In short, He imitated His model – the Father. Who is your model? Is it Jesus? Or is it someone like the Apostle Paul who said to “follow (imitate) me as I follow (imitate) Christ.” And for whom are you modeling? Is it your child, your employee, your fellow employees, your congregation, you students, your disciples? You can be assured that you are modeling for someone. Make sure that what you model is worthy of modeling. What you model for others is what you will see in those who are influenced by you. “Like priest, like people.” It is a spiritual truth. Follow it. Model Christ. It’s a matter of life and death.
Manna for Today – John 8:31-38; Hosea 4:9