I love to watch Kali as she watches Disney musicals on TV. She stares transfixed at the screen, studying the princesses’ every word and movement and downloading the details to memory for future replication. Later I will find her standing in front of my full-length mirror, mimicking the dialogue and poses she witnessed on the screen, practicing quips and smiles over and over until her own movements are indistinguishable from those of her royal role models.
Kalinda’s princess imitation is one obvious instance of mimicking what she sees, but my kids are constantly taking in information that is soon translated to their actions and speech. Whether it’s phrases they pick up on TV or mannerisms they catch from Luke and me, they are all tiny sponges—soaking up external cues that are later squeezed out unwittingly into their daily lives. This can be harmful when they are exposed to undesirable cues that come out as inappropriate language or reckless actions, but it is also incredible to watch them absorb and then replicate the good stuff, like kind words, healthy habits, wise decision making, or joyful attitudes.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how imitation plays out in my own life and, ultimately, my purpose. In a recent sermon at church, our pastor reminded us that our ultimate purpose on this earth is to become more and more like Jesus. This is not just a priority but THE priority of our lives, the driving force behind all that we do. Each day is a fresh opportunity to move towards our goal of becoming more like Christ, formed in His likeness. It’s difficult to imitate someone or something I have never experienced, so in order to become more like Christ, I must spend time with Him. As I walk in His presence, abiding in Him, communing with Him in prayer and studying His Word, I will begin to absorb the attributes of the Savior.
Psalm 89:15 says that those who acclaim the Lord are blessed. To acclaim something is to praise enthusiastically and publicly. I don’t know about you, but I find that the things I acclaim—the things I enthusiastically and publicly praise—are the things I want more of in my life: if I acclaim a friend’s sense of fashion, I inevitably find myself shopping at the same stores to imitate her look; when I acclaim a musical artist, I’m soon humming her songs throughout the day and streaming her music as often as I can; when I acclaim a particular writer’s style, it won’t be long before similar ideas or turns of phrase begin popping up in my own writing. We are all just like my kids, little imitators of the things we see and admire and praise. And when we acclaim the Lord—when we enthusiastically and publicly praise Him—we initiate a process of becoming more like Him.
I believe this is why the psalmist says those who acclaim the Lord are blessed: to be blessed is to be made holy, consecrated to God or to religious purpose. Did you catch that? Acclaiming the Lord is a key to fulfilling our purpose because when we 1) acclaim the Lord, we 2) start to imitate and become more like Him and 3) begin living out our purpose of being formed in His image.
I love The Message version of Psalm 89:15-17 that reads, “Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout on parade in the bright presence of God. Delighted, they dance all day long; they know who you are, what you do—they can’t keep it quiet! Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us.” What a fantastic word picture! THIS is what it means to acclaim the Lord: we “know the passwords of praise,” and we can’t contain our praise for the Lord that is on display in every corner of our lives. We bask in His goodness and can’t keep quiet about His magnificence. And as we praise this God who leads with righteousness, love, and faithfulness, we reflect this same vibrant beauty that we acclaim in the God we adore.
Heavenly Father, I acclaim you! I praise you and adore you, and I thank you for your goodness, beauty, and truth. Help me learn to acclaim you more and more, so that I may continue to be formed more and more like you. Thank you for inviting me into your presence: help me to always choose your lightened path, and fill me with your vibrant beauty.