That you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. (Deuteronomy 26:17)
It sounds intimidating if not impossible to live a life that imitates God. What does it mean really to walk in the ways of God? Is the bible serious when it calls on those submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ to imitate Jesus, to be holy as He is holy, to be perfect as He is perfect? In a word, yes.
It means that we are to imitate the ways of God, in as much as we are able. The commandment to imitate God is one of the most fundamental principles of the life of faith.
Consider this passage from the Talmud:
Just as He clothes the naked, as it is written [in Genesis 3:21], “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them,” so too should you also clothe the naked. The Holy One, blessed be He, visited the sick, as it is written [in Genesis 18:1], ‘Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre,’ [while he was still recovering from circumcision,] so too should you also visit the sick. The Holy One, blessed be He, comforted mourners, as it is written [in Genesis 25:11], “After the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac,” so too should you also comfort mourners. The Holy one, blessed be He, buried the dead, as it is written [in Deuteronomy 34:6], “And He buried [Moses] in the valley in the land of Moab,” so too should you also bury the dead. (b.Sotah 14a)
The scholars of old understood a pattern of behavior by God we often do not consider. Just as the Lord is active in people’s lives we too are to be active. From clothing the naked to feeding the poor, we are to walk in the ways of God, a self sacrificing life.
Jesus did the same and gives us the pattern of living. A life set apart to self sacrificing generosity. The Master lived this principal out perfectly in every situation. He walked in the ways of God, making the Father’s will His will in every decision. He said, “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:28-29)
As such, His very life glorified God in that it accurately represented God. Thus He spoke in truth when He said to His disciple Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
We too are to glorify God by imitating Jesus. He told us that “He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.” We see Jesus, just like the Father, visiting the sick, comforting those who mourn and feeding the hungry and much more. Believers can see in the life of Jesus what it looks like to imitate God and walk in His ways.
We may not be able to raise the dead or multiply fish and bread, but we can do what God has gifted us to do. We can still feed the hungry. We can comfort those who mourn. We are able to visit the sick in their time of need.
When we make the effort to learn God’s ways and to walk in them, we become true disciples of Jesus Christ. As James said, we should be doers of the word and not hearers only.
THIS WEEK’S READINGS:
- Ki Tavo (כי תבוא | When you come in)
- Torah: Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8
- Haftarah: Isaiah 60:1-22
- Gospel: Luke 23:26-56
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