1 Corinthians 4:15-16 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
1 Corinthians 11:1- Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
We’ve all been there. You’ve gathered all your disciples around a great meal at your table. Everyone is laughing and having a great time. You all share what you’ve been reading in the Bible that week. As you are passing out dessert, you tell them to imitate your life.
No, right?! We read Paul’s words and if we are honest we cringe a little. We think: “How could we tell our disciples that. We don’t have it all together.”
Remember, Paul wasn’t Jesus. He wasn’t perfect. He even said, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"--and I am the worst of them all” (1 Timothy 1:15).
How could he tell people to imitate him if he was the worst? Paul knew 2 things well that I have to remind myself a lot.
1) Matthew 5:3- “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Christians who do not rely on their effort, but depend wholeheartedly in God’s strength and power are the blessed ones. Our self-righteousness is a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6). When we trust our trustworthy God with every detail of our lives (thoughts, words, actions, future, name it) we are declaring that He is God and we are not. We are blessed when we realize even as believers we sin and our hearts are prone to wander.
Obviously Paul was not the worst…he was leading countless people to Christ. But, Jesus followers are self-aware that they haven’t arrived, but are instead daily depending on grace.
2) Whether you tell your followers to imitate you or not, they are. You should re-read that if you are skimming because this is getting long (TLDR-IKR).
A few sobering scenarios: If you are 25, and you meet weekly with your 8th graders and you answer all their questions from the overflow of your life experience or what you’ve heard other people say, they will imitate that.
They will not look in God’s Word for their answers. If you're 35, and you meet weekly with college girls and you never share your faith because you are afraid you won’t have all the right answers, they will imitate that. They will not actively try to share their faith maybe ever.
FLIPSIDE. If you are 25, and you are texting them what you learned everyday because you are so fired up about what God is showing you that you cannot wait until yall hang again, they will imitate that. Get ready, you're about to be in an exciting group text and hang time.
If you are 35, and you share exciting stories weekly making sharing your faith and loving your neighbors seem like an adventure, they will imitate that. Get ready…Your little group will bear much fruit.
We don’t tell the people we mentor to imitate us; they naturally do.
Let’s be the high schoolers who show junior high girls how to follow Jesus with our whole hearts and pray without ceasing.
Let’s be the college girls who show high school girls how to cling to Jesus and make Him known. Let’s be the ones in our entry level jobs who don’t long for college but win everyone there to Jesus.
Let’s be the young marrieds who pray for our spouses and continue to disciple others.
Let’s be the young moms who disciple our kids and open our homes to feed and mentor everyone who will hear.
Let’s be the moms with kids in school who always have a home filled with hospitality and Gospel. Let’s be the empty nesters who are on mission everywhere we go.
Let’s be the little old ladies that they have to kindly ask to stop coming to youth camp!
Someone is imitating you whether you ask them to or even give them permission to. Since that is a fact..let’s be the women no matter our age or season who love Jesus so much that we obey Him and share Him with everyone we know. The Christian life is EXCITING. We get to walk in a true identity and our calling flows from that. We are modeling what abundant life looks like.
Honestly, I am looking at women who are a season or a few seasons ahead of me. I don’t want to see Pinterest perfection; I want to see Jesus loving others through them. That’s what Paul gave his disciples. He depended on Jesus for his righteousness and told everyone about the Lord. That’s a life worthy of imitation. That’s my prayer. - Amy