Wednesday, March 18

Be the kind of person others can imitate!

Scripture: Joshua 3-6, 1 Corinthians 4

1 Corinthians 4:14–17 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16 So I urge you to imitate me. 

17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.

Observation

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church to resolve several problems; one of them was that some people were questioning his authority and relationship to them.  Consequently, they also questioned the authority of his message, the gospel.  It was a serious problem.

So Paul has a DTR conversation: he defines the relationship.  He is their spiritual father, the one who led them to Christ, who proclaimed the gospel to them.  Just as children naturally imitate their parents, Paul urged them to imitate him.

Later in this letter, he will say, “Follow me as I follow Christ,” or “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”  Paul offers himself as a model to be followed and imitated.  “Want to know how to live, how to love God and serve Him, how to follow Jesus?  Well, watch me and do what I do.  Imitate me.”

But Paul couldn’t be with them, so he sent Timothy, his son in the Lord.  Timothy followed Paul, and could show them how Paul lived and loved God.

Application

Two questions:

First, who is your Paul, your father (or mother) in the gospel?  Do you have a spiritual model, someone who follows Jesus well that you can imitate?  Actually, most of us will have more than one.  I have several, starting with Noel, my father-in-law and pastor.  I hope you can identify one or more people who are showing you how to follow Jesus.  And I hope that you are close enough to them to watch, to see how it’s done, up close and personal.  

Second, who is your Timothy?  Who is looking to you to follow your example as you follow Jesus?  Be the kind of person others can imitate!  Be the kind of person others can follow!  

This is Discipleship 101.  Disciples of Jesus are made life-to-life.  We learn to follow Jesus by watching people who do it well, and following their example.

Are you the kind of person others can imitate?

Prayer: Lord, help us to follow You well, and to be the kind of people that others can imitate!  Make us more like You!