Ever noticed those little things you pick up from those around you?
Around a year ago I felt God talking to me about starting a blog and that my first post would be on this topic. I am by no means a natural behind the camera (took me many attempts!!) but thought it was important to give the option to either listen or read - so take your pick!
My first point is that relationships are soooo powerful, particularly with those that we are closest to.
“We are the average of the 5 people we most spend time with".
- Jim Rohn
Sometimes in life we don't have much control over who we have been closest to. As I write this, we are in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic (eek!) and so everyone in the UK has experienced this in some way or another. Some of us have been on our own, others have been ringfenced into a house with our family! I have moved in with my folks for a few months so I have, by default, 4 people that I am now closest to (I only have 1 person left?!)
It's really got me thinking how much of an impact those people can have on our lives, particularly as the lockdown restrictions are loosened and we are able to see up to 6 people - who are we going to choose to spend the most time with?
The extent of how true Mr. Rohn's quote is shines through when we look at psychology. There is a biological mechanism in our brains called the 'mirror neuron system' which causes us to observe others actions as through we are doing them ourselves. This helps us to develop healthy emotional intelligence and bonds with other people, but it also causes us to imitate those we are close to.
A study called the 'Convergence in the Physical Appearance of Spouses' found that facial similarity in married couples increased over time and concluded that this similarity arose as a consequence of couples frequently mimicking one another's facial expressions.
I don't know about you but I find it incredible that our closest relationships can influence us so much that they can alter the way that we look!
God wants our relationship with him to be like that - so close that we resemble Him.
This really adds power when we look back to Genesis 1:27 that tells us 'we are made in God's image' - He created us to BE IMITATORS OF HIM!
He wanted us to be soooo close to him that we would BEAR HIS LIKENESS, that we would be compelled by His spirit and His light would radiate through us.
That's pretty awesome!!
Whilst we bear His image on earth, it's important to also think about how we influence those around us.
"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."
We are called to reflect God's image so that others can see him through us - it's not only about what we say, but mostly about what we do! People are much more likely to imitate those they are closest to over following their advice.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG version) talks about this:
'Watch what God does, and then YOU do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious, but extravagant.
He didn't love in order to get something from us, but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.'
So have a think about those 5 people mentioned at the beginning of this post. Who are you closest to?
I want to encourage you to be intentional about being in company with those that you want to imitate, who you want to become like, but above all, keeping close to Jesus and imitating Him.