1 Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re teaching someone how to do something and you say, “Okay, do exactly what I’m doing”? You can tell their pulse has accelerated, but you can see the trust in their eyes that seems comforted by knowing you’ve done this before—that you know the terrain and the twists and turns. But you know the truth: the only reason you feel confident to teach them is because someone so effectively taught you.
Yet when we read Paul’s words, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ,” everything in us freezes. I mean we aren’t Paul. Paul is made of special stuff. Shipwrecked, snake bitten, prison letter writing, beaten Paul is a special breed. Of course he’d tell someone to imitate him. But the thought of asking someone to imitate us when it comes to our spiritual life causes us to stop and start peeking under every nook and cranny of our heart. All too often our evaluation confirms that we are left soberingly wanting.
But the Christian experience is an experience of learning and then leading. Being taught, then teaching. Imitating, then being imitated. We are in a duplicating dynasty. We don’t want to walk into heaven as a sole proprietor, but as a corporation. We want to take that searching student, or confused co-worker, or floundering father or messy young mom under our wing for a season. Through our own lives, we want to lead them to life, true life, because of how faithfully Jesus leads us to life.
So, having to live our lives peeking under the nooks and crannies of our heart isn’t a bad thing. Rather, it is a holy thing. If we are being honest, we should probably inspect more often. After all, we shouldn’t be living for this world, because we were made for another world.
See, what Paul had confidence in was the quality of his Teacher. May I remind us, we have the same Teacher. Jesus lovingly looks at us through the pages of scripture and through the experiences of our own story, and He says, “Here, do exactly what I’m doing. Love this way. Forgive this way. Listen this way. Speak this way. Walk this way.” And out of our extravagant confidence in this Jesus we love, we follow. Then in the relationships we’ve been given to steward, we can confidently say the same thing: Imitate me, as I imitate Christ. Not because we are so good—but because our Teacher is so faithful!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What do you do with the inadequacies you feel when reading this passage?
- Yet, what are some of the ways you know Christ has clearly taught you in your Christian journey?
- Who in your sphere right now could use the experience of your relationship with Christ to grow them on their own spiritual journey?
- How could you do that? Doing a Bible Study together? Meeting weekly over coffee or lunch? Setting up a regular phone conversation?