Ephesians 5:1 "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."
There are people who spend their lives pretending to be someone else. There are Elvis impersonators and comedians who train themselves to sound like and mimic the expressions famous people for our entertainment. To be successful they must know the people they are imitating. Often for the sake of entertainment comedians will take a flaw in the person and exaggerate it to make people laugh.
The word Paul uses here when he says to imitate Jesus is a word only ever used in the positive sense. It does not mean to imitate superficial habits or expressions or gestures. It means imitate the positive things about Him. It is a word associated with having a mentor. When you have a mentor you try and learn to do the things that have made him or her successful.
Here is my point today and it's pretty simple. Religion tends to be about externals. It focuses on how we dress or what we eat or certain customs we do. Often (sadly) religion becomes much more about what we don't do, don't eat, don't wear, etc... than what we actually do.
One day the religious leaders attacked Jesus because his disciples according to them were not washing their hands properly. These same men were making plans to kill Jesus but were worried about a custom not even found in the Scriptures.
What is my point exactly? My point is if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me "Do Adventists do...?" or "Are Adventists allowed to...?" or "Adventists don't ... do they?"
The implication in the questioning is clear. Adventists are not followers of Jesus they are followers of Adventism. That is my point. Sadly we know far more about religious traditions and rules and habits and cultural practices or taboos than we know about Jesus. In addition these religious practices are too often about external superficial things than about what mattered to Jesus.
Remember what Jesus said? "They will know you are My disciples (imitators) if you love each other as I have loved you".
Something is wrong when we can be a respected leader in a religion that professes to be Christian and yet be nothing like Jesus.
Discover Him. Watch Him. Listen to Him. Study Him. Emulate Him. Start today.