When our youngest daughter Julia was just a toddler and learning the fine art of walking like a Big Girl (You know, without falling smack on her forehead every four or five steps!), she would often imitate the walk of our dear Italian friend Claudio. She loved him. And rightly so. Claudio showered her with loving adoration, speaking to her in his sing-songy, oh-so-fabulous Italian accent, with an incredibly animated face and equally expressive hands. And almost every phrase Claudio spoke to her ended in “Julia-tina-piccolina.” Yes, Claudio held a very special place in his heart for Julia. And Julia held a very special place in her heart for him. One of the most obvious and consistent ways that Julia would show her love and adoration for Claudio was to imitate and, to the very best of her ability, try to master the way Claudio walked.
So, Claudio – dark skinned, with dark hair and dark eyes – standing erect and taking very long strides with both hands clasped firmly behind his back, would lead as Julia followed. And, oh! She followed him! Our little Julia – our little red-headed, curly-haired toddler, with bright blue eyes – would follow very closely behind Claudio, imitating him as precisely as possible, with her chubby little hands clasped behind her back and taking the longest strides her chubby little legs would allow. And off they’d go! Leader and follower – walking in love and taking great joy in just how very similar their walks were!
Our God takes great joy in us! Our God celebrates with us every moment we choose to walk as Jesus walked. Every moment we choose to obey our Abba’s Word just as Jesus obeyed. Every moment we choose to be imitators of our God as His dearly loved, and absolutely adored, children.
If anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must [walk] live as Jesus did. – 1 John 2:5-6
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2
Will we stumble and fall? Will we take a misstep or a wrong turn – even several times – in our walk as we attempt to live our lives following Jesus? Yes, of course, we will. Yet, our Abba is here with His outstretched, everlasting arms to pick us up, as His dearly loved children, and set us back on our feet. With His promised presence, unfailing love and unlimited power, our God encourages us to keep on walking – keep on imitating Him. We are His. He is ours.
When we choose to walk as Jesus walked, to be an imitator of our God (Oh!), the beauty of Jesus, His love, grace and truth will flow from us and be released into the lives of all those around us! What a fabulous power-walk of love it is to walk as Jesus walked!
Will you walk this way?