[Part 6, Chapter 40]
It has been said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s true, then I’m a huge flatterer.
When I was part of a running club, I would join in on the weekly group long runs. Over fifty of us would traverse the twenty kilometre or more route, all spread out according to speed and what we were trying to achieve from that run.
Many times, I would look for someone who was roughly my build but with more experience, and then run behind that person for a length of time. I would look at their stride rate, how they leaned forward, where they held their arms, the position of their head, and make mental notes for myself. Sometimes I would run alongside and ask them questions. I was learning, receiving, watching, and hearing. With a big running event coming up, I wanted to be well prepared.
Favour is like that. It is not academic. It is studied, but not as you would in a classroom. Rather, as a learned behaviour. It is observed, copied, and then personalised.
Paul urges us to imitate him (1 Corinthians 4:16), even as he himself imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
He exhorts us to put into practise the things we have learned, received, heard and seen in him (Philippians 4:9).
Then, as we imitate him, we become an example to others (1 Thessalonians 1:6).
Really, he is encouraging us to be prepared, and by our examples, to prepare others.
We know there will be challenges and trouble ahead of us. The least likely time for us to learn favour is when the challenge arrives. Trials are usually favour-depleting rather than favour-enhancing.
It is important that we learn to live in favour now. This way, we won’t approach whatever lies ahead from a position of deficit or lack. We’ll face our circumstances and challenges from the position and perspective of favour.
Who are you imitating? From whom are you learning and experiencing favour? Who is your extended family in Jesus, that is, the environment from which you grow in and learn from? Who are your twos and threes that you meet with, receive life from, and speak life into? Who is keeping you safe? Whom are you keeping safe?
Hang around with people who know their identity and who live securely out of that. Be careful not to copy their personality or methods, but watch them, learn from them, see how they apply favour to themselves, to others, and to their circumstances. Then become the person that others see favour in and learn from in turn.
It will happen, most likely without you even noticing.