Imitating Christ

Imitating Christ

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1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

Sometimes I stay up late to watch television—the second half of a football game; the NBA playoffs; a comedian.  One of my favorite types of comedy is impersonation.

To be a really good impersonator, you have to essentially mimic the gestures, voice, and even the appearance of the one being imitated.  To be successful in that field, I imagine you would have to spend a lot of time choosing a character and diligently developing the attributes necessary to impersonate him/her.

That thought triggered another, and I realized that I had observed an interesting pattern in my studies, both of Bible characters and the humans who live on this planet:  to be an effective Christian, we must imitate the right people.

Scripture is filled with godly examples—the Apostle Paul, among others.

While in Philippi, Paul writes to the church at Corinth. In his letters he models the behavior for those who follow Jesus Christ.  Two statements in particular stand out as he sums up his thoughts to the Corinthian believers:

The Apostle Peter writes to the strangers  [believers] who were scattered abroad, and reminds them whom they were to follow:

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21).

Paul pens instructions regarding the demeanor of believers.  He writes this to the church at Philippi while he is imprisoned in Rome:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

Again—while in chains at Rome—Paul urges the believers in Colosse regarding their actions:

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him (Colossians 2:6).

The greatest example set for us is our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Matthew tells us in Christ’s own words that sacrifices are required when we imitate God’s Son:

carrying-the-cross
carrying-the-cross

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38).

The real secret of successful imitation is found through an intense study of the person, observing the character of the one whom we seek to imitate. Thus, as we follow after Christ, Paul encourages us with these words:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to  glory . . . (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The ultimate compliment to our Master is to become so like Him that it would be second nature to us. That can only happen when we walk with Him . . . in His steps.