Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.
— Ephesians 5:1
Have you ever been in a situation that made you so uncomfortable, you wished you could turn and run, but you knew you had to stay? Did you throw a fit and cry in front of everyone, alerting them to the fact that you were upset? Or did you speak to yourself, telling your emotions to get a grip and to be controlled? Did you make the choice to grit your teeth, put a smile on your face, and act like you were happy to be there, although truthfully that wasn’t what you felt at all?
Let me give you two more common scenarios to consider. Have you ever been depressed, but because you were with other people, you had no choice but to smile, laugh, and act as if everything was fine? Or can you remember a moment when you were having a very upsetting or emotional talk with someone in your household — and suddenly the phone rang? Did you notice how your voice changed from sounding gloomy to sounding like a cheerful welcoming committee when you answered the telephone? “Hello! I’m so glad to hear from you. How are you?”
To disguise what you really were feeling in these different situations, you were required to act. All of us have found ourselves in similar situations.
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Acting is an ability that every human being possesses. Children know how to act; teenagers know how to act; husbands and wives know how to act; and employees know how to act. If needed, every person on the planet knows how to switch into an acting mode! Acting is something that everyone can do.
In Ephesians 5:1, the apostle Paul wrote these words: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” The word “followers” is the Greek word mimetes. The word mimetes means to imitate someone or to mimic what you see someone else doing. It was also used to describe actors or performing arts artists who acted on the stage for their profession. In addition, mimetes frequently depicted the modeling of a parent, teacher, champion, or hero. When a person was known for his high moral character, others were encouraged to emulate or copy that person.
The word mimetes is frequently used in the New Testament. For instance, Paul used the word mimetes when he told the Corinthians, “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” (1 Corinthians 4:16). This verse could be translated, “I’m urging you to act like me! Watch what I do, and duplicate in your own life everything you see in me.…”
In Second Thessalonians 3:7, Paul used the word mimetes when he told the Thessalonians, “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us.…” This could be translated, “It would behoove you to follow our example — to imitate and mimic us with the goal of replicating the things you observe in our lives.”
Hebrews 13:7 also uses the word mimetes. It says, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” The last section of that verse could be translated, “…You need to carefully model your faith after theirs — doing what they do, saying what they say, acting like they act — considering the great maturity and fruit produced by their lives.”
Because Paul uses this word in Ephesians 5:1, he is telling us to model our lives after God. Just as a professional actor is committed to capturing the emotions, looks, voice, character, and even the appearance of the person he is portraying, we are to put our whole heart and soul into imitating God in every sphere of our lives. This means we must make a decision to act like God!
But let’s go back a little to see how Paul begins this verse. He says, “Be ye therefore.…” The Greek word used here is the word ginomai; however, here it appears as the word ginesthe and would be better translated: “Be constantly in the process of becoming.…” It expresses the idea of someone who has started some action in his life and is now continuing to work on it. He hasn’t arrived at his goal yet, but he is committed to keep working on it and to stay in the process of becoming.
Successfully acting like God is not something you will attain the first time you try. For you to capture the emotions, looks, voice, and character of God — in other words, to successfully replicate Him in your life — will require commitment and time. Don’t expect to arrive at this high level of duplication overnight. Instead, resolve to start where you are today; then do more tomorrow. Keep it up until you finally begin to think like God, talk like God, sound like God, and carry yourself in the confidence of God!
When all of this is put together in Ephesians 5:1, it could be interpreted:
“Be constantly in the process of becoming more like God — making it your aim to act like Him, to duplicate Him, and to exactly copy Him in every area of your life….”
I noted already that children, parents, husbands, wives, students, and employees have the ability to act. Very early in life, people learn that they must act a certain way in order to get what they want. If their behavior is wrong, they know that they must act differently. Changing behavior requires a decision to do things differently — to speak differently, to think differently, and to act differently. It all starts with a decision.
Why don’t you make a decision to put your unsanctified emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behavior aside, and start acting like God? What would happen to your life, your family, your church, your community, your nation, and the world if you did that? What would happen if you approached every problem acting as God does when He approaches problems? What difference would it make in your life if you acted like God every time you have to deal with an unloving person?
In all these cases, your world would be dramatically affected if you acted like God. Problems would appear very small, and you’d believe you could overcome every one of them. You’d have sufficient love, patience, and forgiveness for every unloving person.
So why don’t you make the decision to take up acting? Resolve today that in every situation, you’re going to imitate your Heavenly Father, the greatest Role Model of all. And remember, when you face a challenge, you don’t have to sit around wondering what God would say or do. His “script” — His anointed Word — is always available to help you learn how to act like Him!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me make the decision to put my unsanctified emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behavior aside and to start acting like You. I know that if I approached every problem “acting” like You, it would make a huge difference in my life. You see everything from a viewpoint of power and victory, so please help me to see like You, think like You, and act like You. Help me make the decision to change my way of thinking — to learn how to respond as You do to every situation I am confronted with in life.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I declare by faith that I am going to take up acting! In every situation I face, I am going to imitate the character of my Heavenly Father, successfully replicating Him in every sphere of my life. I know it will require a great deal of time and commitment for me to arrive at this high level of duplication, but I resolve to start where I am today and then do more each day from this moment forward. And I’ll keep up my efforts to act like God until I finally begin to think like Him, talk like Him, sound like Him, and carry myself in His confidence!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. What would happen if you approached every problem acting as God does when He approaches problems?
2. What difference would it make in your life if you acted like God every time you dealt with an unloving person?
3. When you are faced with a difficult situation, do you ask yourself what God would say or do?