Monthly Archives: August 2015

the imitation game//part 2


“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings…”
2 Timothy 3:10-11a

As if Paul saying “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1) isn’t convicting enough, here he points out specific areas Timothy has been imitating.  It’s important to note that Paul has just finished describing how the world would progress in the last days while opposing the truth of God.  Just take a moment and read the beginning of chapter 3.  It’s a pretty accurate description of godless humanity living for itself.  And it’s very relevant.  It includes actions that are openly defiant of biblical morality, people who cannot be satisfied, abusers, the arrogant, and even those who have the appearance of godliness but will not surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit and actually live it out.  People who are following the world and seeking it’s pleasures.

But Timothy, on the other hand, is following a different example.  He is following the example that he has seen Paul.  We can see clearly in scripture that Paul, Silas, and Timothy spent much time together.  So, Timothy has seen the real Paul and he has seen Paul live opposite of the world in each of these areas.

So now I ask my self, “Would I want my kids, my disciples, to follow my example in each of these areas?”

My teaching?  Sure. I try to always teach and counsel from the Word of God.  I think I’m pretty confident here.

My conduct?  Uh…well…um…eeee….I think I’m a pretty good example…most of the time.  But as I say that, events and actions are running through my head that I wouldn’t want my kids imitating.  Dang.  That one’s out.

My aim in life?  I feel pretty good about this one.  In general, I do seek to Glorify God in all that I do. However, there are definitely times when my attitude is influenced by a more worldly focus and especially when it involves self-preservation or future security.  Well, this one is suspect.

My faith?  I think so.  Again, I put the bible forward on this one.  But am I teaching it faithfully?  Do those around me, especially my family and friends, really know what I believe.  Have I been faithful to disciple and pass on the Word of God.  Man, I’ve got to remember that these things have to be modeled to be imitated.

My patience?  Crap.

My love?  Pass.

My steadfastness?  At first glance, I think I endure pretty well.  But the real definition of this one in it’s original language is “cheerful endurance.”  Oh, you mean I have to be a good example?  Ug.

My persecutions and sufferings?  Living in America, I’m afraid I don’t have many Paul-like examples to pull from.  My sufferings are in no way a comparison to Paul’s or even most of the rest of this world.  But even at that, my reactions to trials and suffering leave little to be imitated.

Wow.  So, I thought I was doing pretty good until Paul made this list.  It’s a convicting read for sure.  We will never be perfect at it, but it is a great aim.  It’s great to make this a matter of prayer.  We can add to it Paul’s encouragement to in his first letter to Timothy, chapter 4 verse 12,”…but set the believers and example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  That’s a pretty exhaustive list.  And it’s God’s will for our lives in Christ.

So, how are you doing in these matters?  Take some time and meditate on it.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you and speak to you.  And when you’re ready to admit your own failed efforts, you’ll be ready to join me, Paul, and all the other God seekers out there in surrendering to His power to do it through us.  We’re all failures needing a perfect Savior to pick us up and show us how it’s done.  Oh yeah, He’s the one we’re supposed to be imitating anyway.


the imitation game//part 1


So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 (ESV)

For many years now, I’ve been challenged by the imitation factor in Paul’s discipleship example.  He charged the Corinthians twice in his first letter to them to imitate him.  How bold do you have to be to encourage people to imitate you?  What kind of life you need to live to make that sort of challenge?  In his second challenge he added to it, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Cor 11:1 (ESV).  So, there you have it.  The heart of discipleship.  It’s not so much having a good curriculum to teach or the best scripture memorization strategy.  All of those things are good.  But discipleship has to be much more.  It’s sharing life together.  It’s living a life seeking Christ and being able to say, “Imitate me as I follow the ways of Jesus.”

Many people shy away from discipling others because they don’t feel qualified.  I know the feeling well.  I’ve pondered the question many times wondering what I have to teach, what I have to share.  But, if you are a seeker of Christ, the best thing to do is to be willing to open up your life to others.  Be willing to let them see your successes and failures, your dirty laundry, you discipline your kids, and maybe even a marital spat.  Be honest and real.  Admit failure and demonstrate grace.

Seek Christ and share your life.  Paul, Silas, and Timothy did this with the Thessalonians.  In 1 Thessalonians 2:8-12 Paul says that they shared not only the Gospel Christ with them, but also their very lives; living an example before them while sharing the gospel and encouraging them to live a life worthy of God.  They lived the example and shared the truth of Christ at the same time.

Sure, there is heavy accountability with this.  That’s part of the process as well.  Sharing our lives with others challenges us to grow and be diligent as well but it’s not about being perfect.  You think Paul was perfect?  Far from it.  In fact, Paul was open about his ongoing struggle with sin in Romans 7.  Be real.  Be open.  It’s called community.

Live to be imitated as you imitate Christ.