1 CORINTHIANS 11:1 – Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Imagine this picture. What if our churches were filled with the type of Christians we are? Serious thought, huh? Then extend that to a broader application. Imagine if every Christian living out their routines and callings in life and society did so exactly as we are doing in our lives? Another serious thought, right? But that is exactly what we see from the life of the Apostle Paul’s words described in today’s scripture. He is giving a command to a group of believers who were spiritually adrift. Oh, the Corinthian believers were an example to each other and the world– a bad example. And that is a lesson we need to ponder. The most damaging thing we do to our testimonies as churches and individual Christians is allow the sin of worldliness; to live lives betraying what the Bible says we are to be–godly examples for others. In a completely opposite fashion of the Corinthian believers, the Apostle Paul commends the believers in Thessalonica for their obedience to today’s scripture. His example became a living model that these young believers in Thessalonica followed – And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7). So how does this apply to us? In at least two ways . . .
First, we must settle it into our minds that we are commanded to be examples of Biblical Christianity for other believers. The Apostle Paul states to Timothy this truth that applies to all of us,“ Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). One of the great needs in our churches and Christianity at large is the awareness that we don’t live for ourselves and that means we are responsible to give others the most accurate picture of the self-denying Christ possible. We get in all kinds of spiritual trouble when we forget life is about self-denial for Christ and others, not self-serving and self-satisfying pointing to ourselves. Ask God to give us the life-changing awareness of our responsibility to strive to present to others the Biblical Jesus. Remember, the challenge . . . would we want our churches filled with the type of Christians we are. The answer should be “yes” and will be “yes” if we are orienting all of life around the Lord Jesus.
Another truth to ponder toward being a worthy example of what a believer should be for other believers is such a life defines the normal growth as a Christian. There is the natural expectation from the Lord that as we “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), we become examples of Him. He even said it is to be so as He washed the disciples’ feet-For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you (John 13:15). But don’t look just to the act of service as the example. When we read of Jesus the act of Him washing feet, don’t miss the attitude behind it. It opens the chapter–“Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end”(John 13:1). All examples of service to believers start with and are sustained by love. That is the supreme example we are to give each other.
So, what about our churches and influence upon society? Would we want to say, “Be imitators of us as I am of Christ” to other believers because we are striving to be like the One we claim to follow, not in perfection but sincerity? May it be so. It is our privilege and responsibility to be so!
PRAYER: “Father, help me to be a daily, living example of a true Christ-follower.”
QUOTE: “We are called to be examples of Biblical Christianity–all the days of our lives.”
Because of Him,