Imitate Me, Imitate Him?

“Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent 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 4:16-17 NIV

This scripture came to mind this morning as I was getting ready for work. In this passage of scripture Paul is writing to the Corinthians and he says something interesting. He says, “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” How many of us as Christians could say that to someone? If people imitated you, what would they be doing? You see, Paul could say that because he imitated Christ. He wasn’t saying it out of pride or to be boastful. He was telling them to imitate him because he imitated Jesus. The dictionary defines imitate as (1) to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example, (2) to mimic; impersonate, (3) to make a copy of; reproduce closely, and (4) to have or assume the appearance of; simulate; resemble. As Christians, we should model our life after Jesus. He should be our standard and example. We should mimic His actions. In biblical days, the term Christian originated as a derogatory term for those who followed the teachings of Jesus, meaning “Little Christ“. We should be reproductions of Him. In order to purify silver, a refiner heats the metal. As it gets heated, impurities called dross come to the surface and the refiner scrapes it off. The refiner knows that the silver is pure when he can look in it and see his reflection. In the same way, we should resemble and reflect Jesus Christ. I know you’ve heard this before but it is true and bears repeating. You may be the only Bible some people ever read. You may be the only example of Jesus they see. What are you showing them? Could you say imitate me because I imitate Jesus? Paul was saying in the above scripture that Timothy would remind them of Paul and he would remind them of Jesus. He says, “He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” Did you catch that last part? Paul says his way of life agrees with what he teaches everywhere in every church. He walked the walked and talked the talked. He didn’t act one way Friday and Saturday night and then a different way on Sunday. He didn’t say things in private he wouldn’t want screamed in public. He didn’t act one way around his family and a different way around his friends and coworkers. He didn’t change his morals or convictions depending on who he was around. Paul lived what he preached and that’s why he could be confidient in saying “imitaite me.” We all need to think about our words and actions. If people imitated us, would they be imitating Christ?

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