When I was in elementary school being called a copycat was the equivalent of a capital offense. While being a tattletale was typically frowned upon, we made exceptions if we were tattling on copycats. Being a copycat was even worse than being a generator of cooties.
The reason no one liked a copycat is that copycats didn’t think for themselves. They copied people’s jokes, clothing styles, or behaviors. Copycats mindlessly followed what the popular kids were doing.
The Bible speaks about copycats. In Romans 12:2 we are told to “be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...” That first phrase can also be translated as “do not copy the culture of this world.”
If you watch a football game, the commercials tell you that you cannot enjoy the game without a cooler full of beer; if you watch the majority of TV shows and movies, the characters tell you that in order to be a man you have to sleep with as many girls as possible; those same shows tell girls that if they want to keep their man then they have to give him what he wants.
And so our culture of copycats does what it is told, mindlessly following the leader in order to accepted by the cool kids. But the Bible tells us not to be copycats. Instead, we need to be transformed. Recent movies have helped people get a better understanding of what transformation means—it’s how a Corvette becomes a robot almost instantly (or in the real world, how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly).
When culture is doing one thing, we need to be transformed into something so much better. How do we do this?
The verse continues by saying that we renew our minds. We can’t change our lives without changing our minds; we need to change our minds about who we are and who God is.
Being a copycat of the world is foolish, but following God’s plan for our life is not mindless following. After all, God created us and knows what is good for us, so following His Word is the wisest way to live.