After calling out variance as a work of the flesh, YHWH continues with emulations. (Ga 5:19-21). The enemy often tempts in extremes; we need balance to avoid the one while evading the other.
As variance is unholy glorying in differentness, emulation is an effort to match or surpass a person or achievement, typically by imitation. Is it unholy competition, ungodly sameness.
How then do godly men encourage us to emulate them (Ro 11:14), begging us to follow their example? (1Co 4:16) Imitating the godly helps ensure our own walk with God. (Php 4:9) How is this supposed to work?
The difference between holy and unholy emulation is evidently in our motivation. As we follow after God (Ep 5:1) good role models are invaluable; we’re not trying to outdo each other, but being discipled, coached and motivated through wholesome example. As long as we’re rejoicing in the godliness of others and enjoying our own unique design and gifting in God, emulating Christ in others, where ever and whenever we can find Him, we’re walking in love.