Phil. 4: 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
1 Cor. 11:1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
Hebrews 13:7. Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
As a dad, there were many times where I would say to one of my daughters…”just do it like I’m doing it,” or if we were on a hike, “just step where I step.” Children naturally mimic their parents. This is how they learn, but this can be terrifying as a parent because we know all our bad habits. God wired within our DNA the ability to learn by copying actions and even ideas and preferences of those we spend time with. I had a friend growing up that hated hotdogs only because his dad hated hotdogs. As children grow, it’s pretty easy to see the good qualities as well as some of those less desirable qualities that are passed on from one generation to the next.
In the verses above, the Apostle Paul highlights this idea of modeling our faith to others. To the young believers in the church at Philippi he says, “what you see in me put into practice.” He also writes to the Corinthian believers to imitate him, just as he is imitating Christ. These are bold statements to make, even though it is the Apostle Paul we are talking about. In the New Testament, there are over a dozen passages that speak of imitating those “who through faith and patience have inherited the promises of God.” (Hebrews 6:12)
This is discipleship. While teaching is an important part of growing in Christ, modeling how to live is how Jesus taught his disciples how to live God’s way. Verses about being an example for others cause me to ponder a couple of question. Have you ever intentionally looked for and noticed character qualities in fellow believers, friends or family members that are a reflection of Christ and are worthy of imitating? The Apostle Paul certainly encouraged us to look to Christ as our example, but he also suggested that we could see Christ in one another. I think seeing Christ in a friend or family member can give us a real-life, present-day example of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. I also think it’s a great practice to say to a fellow believer… “I see Jesus reflected in you; thank you for showing me what faith looks like!”
These admonitions in scripture also push me to ask the question; “What quality of Christ Jesus do people see in me?” Am I reflecting Jesus in such a way to cause others to take notice and be encouraged to be more like Jesus? I sure hope so!
My prayer this mothers day weekend is that “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—that you can put it into practice, because it reflects my Lord Jesus. Amen!