They say that imitation is a form of flattery. I’ve found that I learn things best when I can watch someone else do it first. This is just as true in our Christian walk.
In his exhortations to the Corinthian church, Paul tells them their need to follow after his way of life.
Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
1 Corinthians 4:16
In serving Christ, it’s always beneficial to have a mature, godly example to follow. In that way, we can see how this walk is lived out.
I praise the Lord for the Scripture. It’s a blessing that His written Word is so accessible to us as believers. But there’s so much in the Word that I have a hard time applying.
I need to see an example of how it operates in someone’s life on a continual basis. I’m talking about someone through whom the love and power of Christ are operating consistently.
Of course, there are those that I look at and by their lives, they teach me what NOT to do. However, this post isn’t about the negative examples in our lives, but the positive.
Paul saw that over time the Corinthian church had lost sight of the things that he had tried to get across to them. In their struggle to do things their way, they had missed the clear path of the Gospel that Paul preached to them. Now they were in need of correction.
For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
1 Corinthians 4:17
This verse is very important for us to see and understand. It should remind us of something that was written in the Gospels. On different occasions in Jesus’ ministry, a voice was heard from Heaven saying, “This is the Son I love, listen to Him.”
Now we see the Apostle Paul saying the same thing about Timothy. He adds that Timothy is faithful in the Lord. That’s an important thing for us to understand.
We know that Christ only did those things that He saw of the Father. Then, after the Lord’s ascension, the apostles did what they had seen in Jesus. Now, they’re exhorting the church to follow in they’re footsteps.
Paul knew that Timothy was faithfully living out the Christian walk that Paul had preached to the church. He was now sending his spiritual son to remind the Corinthians how that walk was to be lived out.
With Paul, he wasn’t just preaching theory on how to follow Christ. He had experienced the walk of maturity. He knew what it would take to be faithful to the Lord.
The Corinthian church had heard the message but treated it as a suggestion. As a result, their church was wallowing in divisions and power struggles. They weren’t able to fully proclaim the Gospel of Christ. They needed to get back on track, spiritually speaking.
The only way for the church to course-correct was for each individual believer to submit to Christ’s lordship. Then, as each person follows God’s plan, the church is back where it should be.
That’s why it’s so important for us to seek out and watch the lives of mature believers. Even as a pastor, I need to watch the lives of those who are further along in Christ than I am. In that way, we can see the growth that only comes through godly imitation.
Question: Who do you know that you can follow their example of a mature walk with God?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi