"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ."
-Paul, 1 Corinthians 11:1
Paul did something I have not seen others do. He offered himself as the model of what a Christ follower should look like. As I read these words this morning they once more stopped me to think about what that would look like in my life and yours.
Paul was so confident that he understood the Christ life and was living it that he invited others to follow him and imitate his life. "Boys, just watch me and do it like I do it" would be Paul's words to a young disciple.
It demands two important things in a life, 1. that you know what a life lived as an imitator of Christ looks like, and 2. that you are actually living that way. It demands a clear map of the route and a confidence you are on the path as a disciple yourself...that you are in fact imitating Christ.
But this is exactly what we are supposed to be doing in our lives, isn't it? Dads, are you telling your sons and daughters, "just watch me live the Christian life and you will be ok"? Pastors, are you inviting others to follow you around and imitate your life, your words? You should!
Paul has given us the foundational principle of discipleship- modeling. "Imitate me as I imitate Christ" are heady words to say to someone. It means you must know where you are going, what it looks like, and actually be going the right way. It means you know that others are watching you, following you, imitating you.
If someone is imitating your life will they get it right? Will they be a follower of Christ or a deformed version of one? Have you invited someone to imitate you as a Christ follower? If not, what do you need to change? Where are you going that you wouldn't want another to follow? Are you modeling Christ for others to follow?
This is our greatest need in the church today...men and women following Christ and inviting others to imitate them in the way. What do you need to change to make that offer to another? Could it be that most of us don't know where we are going in the first place? If you have never offered this invitation to another what must you change to invite another to follow you?
"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." What an amazing invitation from the pen of Paul. I've never been invited to follow another in this way, nor have I made the invitation. I wonder what would change if we did.......