Saturday, December 08, 2007

Should others imitate you?

Paul paints a beautiful picture in the first chapter of his first letter to the Thessalonians. He clearly demonstrates how the faith is passed on and replicated through the natural act of imitating each other. We see that the Thessalonians imitated Paul (who imitated Jesus) and the Lord, the people from Macedonia and Achaia then imitated the Thessalonians, and then it states that their faith became known everywhere. That is some serious reproduction.
You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. – 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8
Jesus modeled this with his disciples. He showed them how to live, they imitated him, and they went into the whole world and changed it. In fact, imitating our spiritual leaders is a vital aspect of discipleship. You’ve heard the saying, “do as I say, but not as I do.” Well, true discipleship says it this way, “do as I say and as I do.” How about this, Jesus demonstrated the importance of imitating when he said, “I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.” He essentially is saying that he imitates the Father.

This concept of being imitators is very exciting, but it is also very challenging when we realize that we are called to be the ones that others imitate. That’s right, we need to be at a place in our lives as wholly devoted followers of Christ that we can actually invite others to imitate us. Because, like it or not, others will imitate you; especially if you are seen as a Christian leader or someone who has been following Christ for awhile.
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. – Hebrews 13:7
Paul urged the Corinthians to “imitate” him. He told the Ephesians to “imitate God”. He told the Galatians to “be like” him.

Can we tell others to imitate us? If we are imitating Jesus, then we should be comfortable making this bold statement; not out of pride, but humbly as followers of Christ who have been transformed by his grace.

Related Post: “Be like Mike” – if he is like Christ

1 comment:

Becca said...

Wow Eric, this really hits home. I feel so comfortable pointing others TO Jesus, telling them to be imitators of Christ, but to tell someone, "just act like I do" feels so uncomfortable. Thank you for bringing this to heart.
I immediately looked at my boys....are they forgiving, kind, patient, first to encourage, last in line, loving without a motive, trusting God, sharing His love with words and without words???? They are truly imitators of me in both my strengths and weakness. Thank you for this word as it again brings forth growth and understanding in my life.