Imitators of Christ

Have you ever had a simple but daunting task? For example, imagine the process of delivering an organ for a transplant patient. The last leg of this assignment consists of someone transporting a cooler to the operating room. Pushing a cooler on a cart or carrying it by hand isn’t an overly difficult task, but the high stakes makes it a more intimidating task.

The same can be said of discipleship. On one hand, it isn’t that complicated. Yet the responsibility involved significantly raises the stakes. Here are a few verses written by Paul on the simplicity and weightiness of discipleship:

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

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17)

“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)

This isn’t overly complicated. Paul simply tells people to follow his example as well as the example of others. He can tell them that, because he is imitating Christ with his life. Ultimately, Paul is getting people to follow Jesus and not Paul, but he knows the most tangible way for people to learn is to see how Paul follows Jesus. 

Simple, yes. Overwhelming, possibly. It is intimidating to think of someone imitating my life. Yet if we are followers of Jesus, this is what we are called to do. Granted, we don’t present ourselves as perfect, or ask people to be mirror images of us. But we are to follow Jesus in a way that can be an example to others.

We are to be in the Bible so we can share with someone else, “this is how I read the Bible.”

We are to be men and women of prayer so we can say to someone, “this is how I pray.”

We are to live with love and kindness so we can show others “this is how Jesus lived.”

We are to be people of repentance so we can say, “this is how the gospel changes me.”

The list could go on, but hopefully you get the idea. This doesn’t mean you don’t seek additional resources but it does mean you don’t have to complicate things. Jesus has designed disciple-making to be possible for each of us as long as we are walking by the Spirit.

So how is your life as a disciple? Do you need to better commit to the disciplines of grace (prayer, Bible reading, etc.) so you can be prepared to say to others, “follow me as I follow Jesus.”

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife Stacy have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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