That the Colossians "became imitators of the churches of God which in are Judea" is the evidence Paul gives to show that the Word of God was working in them.
To whom is he writing? To a Gentile church of which he had been the instrument of raising—and they were doing the same things that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were doing! Why? They believed the same Scriptures. They had faith in the same laws and the same way of life that the Jews did. They did not do it because the Jews were doing it but because they had faith in God, just as the Jewish converts in Palestine did.
Thus, they became imitators. The word here is the same as the one in I Corinthians 11:1, where Paul says, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." Here was a Gentile church in Thessalonica imitating the Jewish Christian churches in Judea—and Paul commends them for it!
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 20)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing 1 Thessalonians 2:14:
1 Thessalonians 2:8-9
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15