August 30, 2015
The Intimacy of Imitation
Recently my wife and I went on a road trip (this is one of our favorite things). People have asked why we do it, and besides the reason of sanity, we will tell you- for us it is facilitated quality time, quality conversations, and new experiences that bond us together with priceless memories.
Also, if you have no understanding of why people take “road trips,” I’d say that you’ve never, really, found joy in the awe-some-ness of getting to a destination (besides the fact that you may have had a bad experience during such an excursion).
Our destinations on this excursion were all in the neck of the woods that I grew up in: the great Pacific Northwest. We buzzed through foggy surf towns, quaint ports cities, seas of evergreen, and experienced a coffee scene that is always in full bloom. We saw near and far friends, and close and closer friends. We experienced a stunning wedding, a happy baby, and a couple of radiant young parents.
The latter, is a family that I wish that every one of you could be blessed to encounter. They live in the town of Astoria, OR. Their small town has made an impact on this world through the people that have gone out from it and the movies that have been filmed there. You’ve probably heard of “The Goonies” or “Free Willy”.
Yes, let that nostalgia sink in. Remember the feeling of a VHS Tape in your hand. Take this moment to forgive the inventor for the frustration you felt when the tape got stuck in the VCR player, cause if you are as young or skinny as I am, you were probably asked to stick your hand into the dark mouth of the player to untangle the mess. Take a moment to remember the excitement that you or your children felt when you said that you were going to one of those large movie rental stores to pick out a movie. Have you noticed that generally, in most places, that doesn’t happen anymore? Movie rental stores have become a rarity.
Rarer still is the intimacy of imitation. I know you’re all wondering what I mean by that, but before I can get to the conclusion we need to do some unpacking of our carry-ons.
Our dear friends from Astoria showed and told us a few things that made us pause and ponder.
Mr. Mathre mentioned to me that he has a smiley baby. I actually heard him say, “He smiles because we smile, and that’s all he knows.” #Gracenote When I heard this I was taken aback. I have been teaching this idea to children and adults for years, and have had several pastors and endless other people, tell me that it’s not that simple.
I’ve been told, “Joy takes effort!”, “You need to choose joy!”,“You have to choose to be happy!”, “It’s going to be hard, but some days you’ll have to work up a smile.”
I couldn’t disagree more. Now, here me out. I have some “off days” but I have Joy. I have days when I forget to smile, but that is only because I forgot about Mr. Joy. (Hear the tone of the sayings. My point here is to encourage you to glorify God and not try to muster up your own happiness).
The Bible is full of verses that speak about Happiness and Joy. If you study the Bible, you’ll see more verses concerned with the happiness of the “Saint,” than the sadness of the “Sinner.” (Those titles also have some unpacking to do, but I’ll save that for another time).
Footnote: Kevin Dedmon once said this, “One third of the Kingdom of God is Joy.” I believe that this was stated tongue in cheek (you cannot simply separate the presence of God into thirds), even though he has biblical reasoning for it! In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter fourteen verse seventeen he says “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and JOY in the Holy Spirit!” So literally it’s a third. Haha! #VivaLaParty
Onward, what I heard Mr. Mathre say is that his son imitates him. The child does what his Father, and in this case Mother, are doing. He doesn’t try hard, work up a smile, or choose joy daily, he simply reflects it. Yes, the baby cries, but he’s only still learning how to use his vocal chords. Like many of us, we’re only still learning to communicate with our Father.
Now, what I have just described is effortless imitation. What many people may be thinking when they hear the word “imitation” is the word “fake.”
On a Sunday morning walk, Mrs. Mathre and I had a short conversation about the seafood that we like to consume. One of the topics was crab and she finds crab meat unpalatable. She would prefer to eat imitation crab. My tastes couldn’t be more the different. I have no desire to eat imitation meat. I would call imitation crab “fake.”
So what do I mean by “fake?” I mean not real. Fake is something that is made up from a different substance. Something cut from a separate piece of cloth, if you will.
When it comes to Christ and you, you are both cut from the same cloth (the Father). If you are born again, and I would like to say that you are, you are a Kainos creation. In Greek that means a creation that is new in quality, kind, and superior to what used to exist. (2 Cor 5). You are made of a new substance!
You are not imitation crab. You are the real deal. You came straight out of the heart of the Father. You were formed straight from the rib of Christ. You are bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. (Like Genesis when God formed Eve out of Adam’s side).
You get to not only be a copycat of Christ, but a copycat of the Father just as Christ is still. 1 John 4:17 “By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world.” Think about the following statement: “Jesus didn’t wear a WWJD bracelet!” That’s right! We are not trying to imitate Christ, but more simply and in the same way that Christ copied His Father we can watch Christ in us copy “Our Father” (His words). It’s by this that Love is perfected, with us.
You need not "fake it until you make it."
Imitation, like Joy, is not so much a choice that you have to make everyday or every minute, but an invitation to agree that you have been chosen by God and share your very being with Christ.
Now what does intimacy mean to you? It doesn’t even take a google search to find out what many people consider intimacy to be. Think about it. The type of intimacy here that I will speak of is knowledge. What? Not sex? No. Sexual intercourse should be a symptom or a byproduct of knowing another person. This kind of knowledge doesn’t just come to you after having a coffee with someone, or dancing next to them at a club. It’s knowledge that comes from steady consistent friendship, trust, faithfulness, protection (not birth-control), and lets add long-term commitment to the list.
Intimacy goes two ways. It is not simply “knowing someone better than they know themselves.” It also includes being known. This type of open knowledge requires time to dismantle your own barricades. This type of knowing leads to complete vulnerability.
Let’s play a game! Who can spot the variable in the verse? (If this was graphed what would go on the y and what would go on the x axis? What causes everything else to change?)
1 Cor 13:12 “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”
Again, Mr. Paul, grace be upon him, is writing to another group of believers in Corinth. He uses “now” and “then” language, which leads us to the variable which is time. The thing required for intimacy is time. To know a friend, father, or mother completely is going to take time. It’s going to take some growing up.
Here’s the crazy part. In your relationship with God (seemingly present or not), you are already known by the Father. Your part is to accept that you are known by him and to know your Father.
Anointed to Know
It’s not hard. It’s not work. In fact, it’s only done through rest. You already have an anointing for it! HAHA
1 John 2:20 “But you have been anointed by [you hold a sacred appointment from, you have been given an unction from] the Holy One, and you all know [the Truth] or you know all things.”
I have a friend who has a tattoo on his forearm. It looks like a wax seal, like something that would be placed on a letter to seal it shut. On the seal it has written the Hebrew word “Yada.”
Yes, when you say the phrase: Yada Yada Yada, you are saying something like: to know to know to know, in Hebrew.
The word “Yada” has several different dimensions in which it is used. (Correct me if you believe that I’m wrong, I’m not a Hebrew scholar).
There are five dimensions that are used in the Biblical text. To know in increasing detail, to know technically how something works, to know sexually (which is procreative), to seek out an intimate encounter, and the fifth dimension is to have a face to face encounter with someone.
God already knows all of these dimensions about you. He knows every detail about you, he knows how you work (He created you), He knows you more sexually and procreativly than you may be comfortable with, he has sought you out countless times for intimate encounters, and he has face to face encounters with you daily. Your turn.
How to DIY and Effortless Imitation:
Do you feel as though you need a “how to tutorial?” on intimacy? Some of you may not need help. Some of you know how easy it is to know and be known. Some of you like lists and that’s the only reason why I’m going to write something here that looks anything like a formula for a relationship. Once you practice the first 4 steps you will not have to do them every moment that you seek intimacy with the Father.
1. Recognize that the variable for knowing is “time.”
2. Rest. If you are not at rest, take a moment to be the loved and the forgiven. If Jesus didn’t die on the cross, then you would still be trying to keep a law (if you were a Jew) or work for your approval from God.
3. Know your worth. God became a human. He loves humanity. Jesus died for/as you. You’re not worthless. Agree with the truth that you are priceless.
4. DIY (do it yourself) is not an option. You need two to tang-know.
5. Realize Jesus died a mystical death with you on a Roman (human) execution stake called a cross.
6. Become aware of Christ in you, the only hope that you have of glorifying God.
7. Let Christ compel your every thought, action, reaction, and emotion. The only way to have the Spirit’s fruit of self control is to let Holy Spirit control you. (2 Cor 5:14)
Uncomfortable? Yes, here’s where intimacy and imitation come together.
The only thing that you can choose is exactly how much you can handle being served, and how much you feel comfortable being the beloved, the known and the chosen by God.
Effortless Knowing and Union.
This is where I’ll leave you to experience the grace-notes of your own life filled with the Christ.
Know that it’s not hard work. Know that you don’t have to fake it. Know that you’ll begin to enjoy your life more than ever before! Know that it won’t take any self effort or choice to work up a smile ever again. Even through difficult trials, or sorrow, you’ll have Joy because of Mr. Joy himself, living and breathing in you.
Intimate knowing and childlike imitation of a Father or Mother is all that it takes to experience life more fully and more abundantly.
In the know,
FOOTNOTES: Dedmon, Kevin. Unlocking Heaven: Keys to Living Naturally Supernatural. DestinyImage Publishers. pg 49-64, 84.