“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” Philippians 3:17
“Monkey see, monkey do” projects the example of mimicking. Because monkeys are known for imitating behaviors, the coined phrase is used when behavior is repeated after observation.
I’ve traveled abroad. When unsure how to eat a particular food, I waited, watched, and then followed suit. Children are the best imitators. Like it or not, they speak and act with words and tones picked up in the home. If mom or dad screams and yells, you can expect the little one will follow suit. Often a teacher can recognize what behaviors are exhibited in the home by the way a student handles classroom situations. As a parent I read, “Behavior is caught more than taught.” I laughed about my daughter being my second Holy Spirit. Any time I behaved in a manner contrary to what I’d disciplined her for, she’d remind me she was punished for doing likewise. I remember trying to lift the lid quietly off the cookie jar to indulge in between meals. No matter what part of the house she was located, she came running. Caught red handed, I’d have to hand one over or be a hypocrite.
The Apostle Paul told the Philippian believers to follow his example for walking like Christ. How could he make such a bold claim? Was he a perfect man? No! He’d once admitted that he wrestled with not doing what he should and doing what he shouldn’t. He wrestled and struggled with sin. So do you and I. Does this mean we’re not candidates to be examples for daily living? No. We fall daily but the important fact is – we get back up. We keep our eyes on Christ. We seek His will. To the best of our ability we live out what we believe to be His plan for our lives.
I wonder if anyone observing me desires to follow in my footsteps. I wonder if I’ve repelled anyone from the Christian life because of my behavior. I hesitate to say if I could repeat Paul’s words to follow his example. I know I am growing and desire to do so until the day I die. If this is enough criteria to invoke a following then… follow my footsteps. You will find I struggle along the path. If you trace my utmost desire, you will find Christ before me, beside me, and behind me. Journey with me if you dare!