3 John 1:11a “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good…”
What we imitate is important. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines imitate as, “To follow as a pattern, model, or example.” What we follow in our life is absolutely vital. Recently Patrick Wyett and I went over how Critical Race Theory has infiltrated the church. The sad reality of this is that the church and many pastors today have decided to imitate what is evil, rather than what is good. It, of course, is a fatal mistake for the church to follow men who have patterned their philosophy on evil. Many will argue that these men are simply adopting parts of an evil philosophy, not the whole, and try to justify what has been done in the church today by wrapping it in “Christian lingo” and loving feelings. The question comes to each of us though, what are we imitating? What are we imitating in our theology, philosophy, methodology, and worldview?
Paul commends Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:10-11 for how he imitated the apostle’s life. “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra–what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.” Often times, when it comes to life (especially ministry life), we have this false view that it is only important that the person has a Biblical reference. It is, of course, vital to have a Scripture reference with our life and ministry as the Word of God is truly the only foundation for the Christian to live upon. However, it was not a simple commendation that Paul had for Timothy. In Paul’s commendation of Timothy he brought a full picture into life, our imitation of what is good is to be evident in every area of our life and it is to be clear that we are following what is good. Our imitation of what is good is to echo through to our philosophy on what we are promoting. Today in the church we have a good many preachers who, in their effort to be relevant to the culture, preach a plank of what the world is proclaiming. Of course, they dress it up in out of context verses believing that they have made a pig pretty by putting lipstick on it. This kind of preaching will not impact the culture in any eternal significance.
It is vital that we imitate what is good. This means we must know who and what philosophies those in influence over us are following. For most of the Christian culture, this means we must know the influences in our pastor’s life, our favorite author’s, and organizations. Make no mistake about it, you will be influenced by those you sit under and are around. 1 Corinthians 15:33 is clear, Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” We will be influenced by what is around us. The question is do you know what your pastor is imitating? Is he imitating the popular worldly philosophies that have infected the church today? Or is he imitating the Word of God? We as Christians are to imitate what is good, God has given us through His word all things that pertain to life and godliness. We must make sure we are imitating Him and His Word.