I broke my ankle two months ago. To say I’ve learned some things is an understatement. I’ve watched as my five year old granddaughter, Arianna, mimics my movements. She holds one foot up and hops because I hold my foot up. She puts her foot on a pillow because I put my foot on a pillow. When I started doing exercises to strengthen my muscles she got down on the floor and did them with me. Saturday when my husband took us to town she insisted on wearing one boot and one shoe so she could be just like me.
I’ve started doing some walking without the crutches and I have a peculiar gait. Later in the day I noticed Arianna was walking just the same. The more we are together the more she acts like I act. She has become a disciple of how someone who has a broken ankle behaves. This behavior is not an outgrowth of duty, but of love.
That’s what a disciple does. They study the person who they want to emulate and they become like them, not so much from will power, but from simply being exposed to their manner of life and ways. The more they study and watch the more they become like them.
How else is Arianna acting like me?
– It is my habit to study and read my Bible before I get out of bed in the morning. Arianna will often join me there with her own books in tow. (This is a good thing.)
– I love chocolate. I have to limit how much is in the house or I would eat too much, too often. Arianna has that same love of chocolate. (Not such a good thing.)
– It is my habit to thank the Lord before I eat. One day when I took a bite before praying Arianna in a disturbed voice scolded, “YOU NEED TO THANK THE LORD!” (Good thing)
– I’m not always patient. When I hear Arianna say, “Oh, for stupid!” I know where she learned it. (Not a good thing.)
I could go on, but don’t wish to incriminate myself any further.
Who am I acting like? What is coming out in my actions because of who or what I have been studying? Arianna’s watchful imitation reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” It also reminds me of what Paul said in Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
If I am a disciple of Jesus my life should be wrapped up in His. I should day by day look to His interests, not my own. Realizing that true life begins and ends with Christ. Knowing that there is no real life without Him and so there is no real sacrifice in living my life for Him. As I fix my gaze on Him He is transforming me into His image.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18