These sound like words of someone pretty pompous and self-centered huh? Can you imagine announcing to various people you meet, or work with, etc. – Hey, imitate my life!
In our modern, Western culture that really does sound weird, and arrogant. In Paul’s , first century world, many men had disciples, followers, people who wanted to learn from and imitate someone else’s life. This was not an off-the-wall statement from a modern cult leader, but a sincere plea for Paul’s new-found friends in the Christian faith to look at his life as a model/example of what a Christian (Christ-follower) looks like.
There was no email, no printing press, no New Testament of Jesus’ life and words. New believers had only the words and the lives of those who actually see Jesus and had encountered Him, as their inspiration and guide.
Those words hit me hard the other morning though as I read them. Is my life worthy of someone following? Do I live in such a way that others would see what a Christ-follower really is? Would I feel comfortable telling another person to – imitate me as I imitate Christ? Is my marriage a true representation of Jesus’ love for His bride, the church?
Here is another verse from Hebrews 13:7 – Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
Is your life worthy of imitating? When your children look at your life, do they see a man they want to imitate? Is your life attracting others to Christ? And the even bigger question – do you even care?
Genesis tells us that we are created “in the image of God”. This literally means we are reflections of God to the world around us. When people see us, they should see God and His attributes. The moon has no light of its own, but only reflects the light of the sun back to us on this planet.
I must admit, I have been pondering Paul’s words for several days and am deeply convicted. What will my time on earth be for – at the end of my days? Why me? Why am I here? To get a job, buy some things, take some trips, and save for retirement?
Like Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the rest – we were put on this place for a reason, a purpose much higher than we can imagine. I pray that God will grant each of us a clearer vision of what He wants us to be doing with our years, our months, and our days. May we all live lives that we could, like Paul, confidently encourage others to imitate, and that would reflect the glory of the One who put us here.
“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual walk with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it” – Brother Lawrence