Friday, April 3, 2009

Be Like Who?

Do you remember the Be Like Mike ad campaign? It was an early 1990’s genius move by Gatorade to capitalize on the enormous popularity of a young NBA star, Michael Jordan. Originally the ad exec based the commercial themes on the song from Disney’s “The Jungle Book” song entitled, “I Wanna Be Like You” otherwise known as the Monkey Song. But Disney wanted too much money to “be like them” so Gatorade wrote their own little jingle. It states,

“Sometimes I dream that he is me. You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be. I dream, I move. I dream I groove. Like Mike. Again I try. Just need to fly. For just one day if I could be that way. I dream. I move. I dream I groove. Like Mike. If I could be like Mike.”

How many people went out and bought Gatorade with the hope that it would help them move and fly like Mike? Millions. Millions of people who realized, sadly, that a beverage couldn’t land them on the same court as Mike. Bummer.

Scripture also offers a “Be Like” statement that is a whopper. Ephesians 5 begins with the directive, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

We might be more successful at being like Mike than our attempts to be like God.

But that command doesn’t stand alone, calling us to get above the rim when we can hardly dribble the ball. It comes after another important directive – one that actually enables us to act in a way that reflects God-like attributes. Ephesians 4 ends with the statement, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” In other words, to be kind, to express compassion, and to forgive others, as God has forgiven us, IS to imitate him. To be like God.

What does this forgiveness look like? Thomas Watson offers seven indicators that we have forgiven, just as in Christ, God has forgiven us. They are:

1. Resist the temptation to seek revenge
2. Do not return evil for evil
3. Instead, wish someone well
4. Grieve over their calamities, even the hardships they have brought upon themselves
5. Pray for their welfare – for good to come to them from God’s hands
6. As much as it is in your power, seek reconciliation; the restoration of a broken relationship
7. Come to their aid – for nothing shows the kindness and compassion of God more than our willingness to help the very one we should consider an enemy

While I'd like to think that Michael Jordan has mastered these biblical principles, in the end, and as much as it is possible, I'd rather be like God.

For just one day, if I could be that way...

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