Children love to imitate someone or something. I know when I was a child, I would imitate a superhero or animal. When my kids were younger, I would see them imitate something they saw on television. There were times they would imitate me. That became very humbling because my kids were watching what I did. There have been times where I fell short in the right actions and my kids thought that was okay when it was not.
As Christians, we have a Perfect Father who we are called to imitate. Ephesians 5:1 says that we are to imitate God as beloved children. In the passages before, the Apostle Paul wrote about putting off the old self which has been corrupted by the flesh and put on the new self which is being conformed to the likeness of Christ. The closing verses of Ephesians 4 is where we see how we should interact with one another and not grieve God's Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to imitate God? A study note for The ESV Study Bible says, "Believers are to imitate God’s holiness in all of their conduct. They are to be like him, not as slaves trying to earn a wage but as children—and beloved children at that!"
Christians are to imitate God in all that they say and do as a response of the love He has shown us. How can we know all that God is? The best and simple is answer is The Bible. God's Word shows us who God is. He is Holy and Just. He is Love and Merciful. There will be things about God that will make us uncomfortable, but we are to be imitators of God.
Can we imitate God in everything? No, we can't For example, we cannot create the world out of nothing nor can we part the Red Sea as He did in Exodus. Tony Merida wrote that "we can reflect God's character in some ways as His image bearers who have been changed by the gospel."
The gospel shows us who God is through the Person of Christ. We must imitate Him. The leaders of the church should follow Christ's example as we follow them. The Apostle Paul said, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Being imitators of God means imitating the character of God as revealed through the pages of scripture because we have been shown great love by Him.