Imitation is the Greatest Compliment

June is upon us! We are quickly approaching the Summer Solstice (June 20th). During the summer solstice, the earth’s axis is tilted at its closest point from the sun. This means that the sun is at its highest point in the northern hemisphere in the sky. It’s also the longest day of the year, bringing us the most light – and the shortest night.

Last week we talked about the meaning of “walking with God” as in having a relationship with God and living a life that follows His standards based on Scripture. But there is also an often-used phrase, “walking in the light.”

So, what does it mean to walk in the light? For the immediate answer, we’ll turn again to


To “walk in the light” is a common metaphor within Christian culture. It is often taken to mean “acting correctly” or even “living openly.” Biblically, however, the phrase has the idea of relinquishing sin by following Jesus.

The only Old Testament occurrence of this precise phrase is in Isaiah 2:5, “O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” The Psalms contain similar phrases (56:13; 89:15), as does Isaiah (9:2; 50:10-11;59:9).

In the New Testament, “walking in the light” is directly related to following Jesus, who said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). While this verse does not directly say, “Walk in the light, i.e., Jesus,” it does pointedly warn of doing the opposite; therefore, those who follow Jesus are “walking in the light.”

To “walk” is, in short, to live one’s life. One’s lifestyle or way of life can be considered a “walk.” The word also indicates progress. Walking is related to growth; it is taking steps toward maturity. “Light” in the Bible can be a metaphor for life, happiness, righteousness, or understanding. The Bible is clear that light comes from the Lord God, the “Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17). He is the opposite of evil. Putting it all together, “walking in the light” means “growing in holiness and maturing in the faith as we follow Jesus.”

The apostle John repeatedly used the “light” metaphor in relation to the Messiah. For example, he writes that Jesus is “the true light that gives light to every man” (John 1:9). In 1 John 1:7 he says, “If we walk in the light as He [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” In verse 5, John says that God’s very nature is light. Jesus, then, is the conduit or provider of light to the world.

Our Christian duty is to live in the light God gives: “Now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). When we walk in the light, we cannot walk in darkness. Sin is left in the shadows as we let our light “shine before men” (Matthew 5:16). It is God’s plan for us to become more like Christ.

“Walking in the light” means we consider Jesus as “the light” in this world, and we “walk” in that light by following His precepts, living in His power, and growing in His grace.

. . .

Certainly, as I read this, I understand that walking in the light from a biblical perspective is following Jesus in all ways, at all times. But I think there is also a very applicable version of this phrase. More than once I’ve heard Pastor Larry Osborne talk about living a life that can withstand the focus of a bright light. Imagine one of those extraordinarily bright construction lights shining on your life. Would anything be seen that shouldn’t be there? Would anything come to light? Anything you hide away? Can your life withstand the light?

I love this analogy.

If you strive to live in such a way that nothing is hidden in the shadows, then you walk in the light. This in turn gives you the opportunity to live a life worthy of question. The question being, “Why is your life different?”

Years ago, my brother-in-law asked what was different about our life? Why did we seem to have peace? The answer was simple, “God.”

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 says, “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers…”

Are our lives worth imitating? That’s a bit of a scary question. So often, our lives aren’t.

So can we live in a way that is worth imitating?

Imitation is the Greatest Compliment

This verse begins by saying, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord”. Those in the Thessalonian Church were imitators of Christ and of Paul and Timothy. The first step in living an imitation-worthy life is choosing the right people to model your own life after.

Since we are Christians, those we imitate should be Christians too. That isn’t to say that the only people who do great things are Christians, but it is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can do things in a manner that pleases God.

A person worthy of imitating would be one who exemplifies the fruits of The Spirit day in and day out. We all know the fruits of the Spirit, but, I have to admit, it’s easy to not give them much thought. However, walking in the light and setting an example of a life worth imitating would most definitely include the fruits of The Spirit…

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness,

Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.

This is a great reminder to be clear about who you surround yourself with, who you take advice from, and who you confide in. Do you have that friend who is always negative and you become more pessimistic in their company? Or, those friends whose language is a bit coarse, and in their presence certain words slip back into your vocabulary. And, of course, the gossipers – such a slippery slope.

If I am to be honest with myself, then I as a sinner, struggle to live a life worthy of imitation. Yet, as I ask God, how do I live a life that is worthy of the amazing life He has given me, the same answer always comes: “Abide in me”.

Walk with Him. Walk in the Light. Abide in Him.

“For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17. Live with me daily, invite me into your life, consult me in everything, pray for my heart, and there you will find your freedom.


As Christians, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who bears fruit in our lives and makes us acceptable to God. Without the Holy Spirit, our lives can never be worthy of imitation. How do we stay in tune with The Spirit, though?

Reading the Bible regularly is one main way since it’s the Holy Spirit who enables us to understand and apply scripture. By making Bible reading a part of our daily schedule, we can begin to see patterns in what we’re reading and apply the teachings to our lives.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have the fruit of The Spirit in our lives. So, when we see ourselves showing self-control despite frustrating circumstances, or avoiding falling into old habits, we can know it is The Spirit at work.

Finally, we can pray that we will become more aware of The Spirit.


If our lives are to be worth imitating, we must be intentional and deliberate in our daily activities. The things we do and say are to encourage and inspire those around us. To bring them closer to God.

As we live in a way that is worth imitating, we can hope that our lives are a witness as the next verse says, “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.” (1 Thessalonians 1:8).

Matthew 5:15 gives us our final thought (instruction), “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

For your life to be worth imitating and to shine forth your God walk without words, are there changes you will make?

For God and you,
Deb Bostwick