Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 9, 2016

worthy of imitation

Last Friday, a friend shared with me that when her husband died, two of their grandchildren sang a song (I saw Jesus in You) at his funeral. What a legacy! I believe there was something within the granddaughters that wanted to imitate the Christ-like quality of their grandfather. We all see qualities in others which are worthy of imitation. Yet most of us shudder at the thought of having someone imitate characteristics from our lives. But they do! So, on one hand we desire imitation, and on the other we fear it.

From our earliest memories, we can recall occasions where we would imitate our parents. Did you ever follow dad around the garage pretending to use his tools exactly how he would, or make cookies with mom in the kitchen? We all started young with a desire to imitate others. In all areas of life, whether it is talents, skills, or even character qualities, others have attributes that we want to possess.

Conversely, what are the special qualities in your life worthy of imitation? You may feel there is nothing special about yourself, and reject the notion that anyone would care to mimic you. But without question, qualities in your life can be worthy of imitation, especially the spiritual attributes. When you are growing in faith, and consistently loving others, the distinctiveness of your life is worthy of imitation. You may tend to look solely at your weaknesses, but others also see patience, care, humility and steadfastness.

Can you imagine someone willingly volunteering the words, “Imitate my life”? I believe we are all too afraid of failing or hindering someone to mouth those words ourself. And even thinking those words seems profoundly arrogant! But there was a prominent man in ancient times who said as much a couple of times. Was he arrogant, or just confident enough in his relationship with Jesus to speak his true feelings? Listen to the words of the apostle Paul.

Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
I Corinthians 4:15-16

Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God–even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
I Corinthians 10:32-11:1

What courage! What confidence! But let’s also be quick to clarify. What Paul wanted was for others to imitate him as he followed the example of Christ, and in his role as a spiritual mentor. We may never utter those words ourselves, but our hearts should beat so strong for Christ that our lives are worthy of imitation. Could others say that your love for Christ inspires them to mimic that love? I may be preaching now, but our kids (even adult children), friends, and work associates need to see a life worthy of imitation. Paul may have had the courage to speak strong words, but let us join him with our own courage to live strong lives. How we live before others does matter for eternity.

When all is said and done, could it be said of you and me, “That was a life worth imitating”?


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