What’s Wrong with Imitating Christ?

There is nothing wrong with imitating Christ, unless you try to do it. That is, in a general sense, Christians are “little Christs” and generally imitate Christ. Specifically, however, the conscious attempt to imitate Christ in the details of one’s life produces delusion. It is delusion to think one can imagine what Christ would do if, for example, he were driving a fork lift at Costco for a living. Imagination is not an effective tool in the spiritual life. St. Paul encourages us earnestly to apply ourselves to good deeds. Good deeds do not require much imagination; they require that we see what good can be done and do it. Imitating Christ, on the other hand, requires that we mentally remove ourselves from our situation and create in our mind a “Christ” based on our weak understanding of Christ himself and endow him with an understanding of the situation based on our own one-sided view of things. And worst of all, coming to some conclusion of what we imagine Christ would do, we set ourselves up for self-righteousness and pride if we think we can do it. It is delusional to think one can imagine what Christ would do in any specific situation in one’s life. Rather, we should pay attention to our own hearts and the people whom our actions will affect and seek with God’s help to do, as ourselves, what is good where we are right now. Imagining what Christ would do takes our mind out of the real situation with real people in the present. Certainly only the Holy Spirit can guide us into what is good and true, but this guidance is not found in our imaginations but in paying attention to ourselves and those around us in the present situation.

One comment:

  1. OK! I'll throw out my WWJD bracelet 🙂

    Wonderfully, putting ourselves in the real situation with real people in the present and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us is imitating Christ!


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