“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1Corinthians 11:1 NET)
My daughter is currently in the stage of life where things are really starting to make sense and the world at large is coming together in her mind and heart. Among other things she has started learning to talk. One of the things she does is copy her older brother when she hears him say a word that she thinks she can say. This can be both good and bad because sometimes her older brother chooses to say words that he knows are out of context and this confuses my daughter as she tries to make sense of things. For example, lately he has been purposefully coaxing her to say “poo poo” out of it’s proper context. Wanting to imitate her older brother, she blindly follows his lead which only leads to confusion, frustration, and sometimes discipline from her parents.
I am amazed at the confidence Paul had in his life being worthy of intimation. I wonder if I could be so bold as to tell others to imitate me because I was confident that I was a good imitation of Christ. Honesty, not humility forces us to admit that such a statement would indeed be out of the question for most of us, even those who have seriously attempted to follow Christ. I fear that many Christians are much like my son and we play the part of the older brother so well. Knowing full well that others will imitate our lives, we are still quick to bring things out of context and make things fuzzy for others. We confuse younger believers by living our lives with one leg on either side of the fence. We frequently find justification, and excuses as we rationalize our lack of faith, failure to serve, greedy hearts, or some other hypocrisy. Then we sit back and laugh when those who look up to us engage in the same activities in their own walk with the Lord. Should we not be as pure as Paul and have full confidence in proclaiming “Be imitators of me!” Before we can do so we must first become imitators of Christ, then and only then will such a statement be possible. If Paul can do it we can too! This is not out of reach for the modern day disciple. We must not wait for this to start with someone else, I believe God wants it to start with us!
“Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.”” (1Peter 1:14–16 NET)