Growing up, there was a song by an artiste or group, (I don’t remember the artiste or group) about being an originator, and not an imitator. It goes something like this, “I’m the originator, not the imitator…” You may remember it too, if you grew up in my era.
I believe the idea behind the song or the song writer is that being an originator is better than being an imitator. The word imitator often has a negative connotation to it, so much so that no one wants to be an imitator or be considered as one. And because the word originator, on the other hand, has a positive connotation, everybody wants to be an originator.
But the Bible begs to differ. The Bible admonishes us to be imitators not originators! In Ephesians 5:1, Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dear children.” In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul writes again, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” And in Philippians 3:17-19, Paul again, admonishes us to note or mark those who walk according to the Gospel, as our examples.
Therefore, it’s alright to be an imitator; as long as one is imitating God not evil. By the way, in many contexts in the Bible, the words imitate and follow are the same word in Greek (Mimeomai). Therefore, to imitate is to follow, and to follow is to imitate.
Truthfully, when you really think about it we are all imitators! We are all imitating something or someone. No one is an originator! Not even the writer of the song I mentioned above. Not even inventors! Inventors use what already exists to make their inventions. There’s only one true Originator – God! God created something out of nothing! Now, that’s an Originator!
Even Jesus Christ was an imitator! He imitated the Father! That’s why He said “…Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” -- John 5:19.
Now, if Jesus said that He did not do anything on His own, and that without Him we can do nothing, isn’t it then foolish to try to claim being an originator, when the one we are following is an Imitator, Himself? Like Jesus, we are to be “imitators of God, as dear children.”
We are called “followers (imitators) of Jesus Christ” for a reason. Not the “originators of Christ.” That’s why Apostle Peter wrote, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously…” 1 Pet. 2:21-23
"We are all imitating something or someone. No one is an originator!"
We are not called to be imitators of everybody or everything. We are not called to be imitators of the world or the latest fashion. We are called to be imitators of God, and to imitate those who imitate Christ. Since we can’t see Jesus, our examples become those who imitate Christ. That’s why Apostle Paul could write that “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
Therefore, as imitators of Christ, our lifestyles ought to be identical – with Christ and those who follow Christ. That’s why we are also called “ambassadors for Christ.” An ambassador doesn’t try to do his/her own thing, i.e. be an originator. An ambassador acts as a representative for another. To represent another means to act on behalf of another. Part of acting on behalf of another is to say and do what the person will say or do.
So, the idea of wanting to be an originator not an imitator, as good as it may sound, is not what we are called to do, as Christians.
What am I? I’m an imitator not an originator -- an imitator of Christ! An imitator of good, not evil!
What are you? Are you an imitator -- an imitator of Christ or evil?
By the way, if I ever met the artiste of the song I mentioned above, I’d let him know that the position of the Originator has been filled by the only One qualified to fill it!
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