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We imitate people around us whether we realize it or not.

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17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

 

If you think about it, copying is a huge proponent of learning. Little children copy every word and behavior much to the embarrassment of their parents. We imitate people around us whether we realize it or not. Every day we copy something and repeat it somewhere else, on Facebook, in conversation, in actions. It can happen so easily and without thinking.

Paul invites the Philippians to imitate him. He just finished explaining that he isn’t perfect and he hasn’t arrived, but that he’s in process every moment of every day pressing on to know Jesus. Now, he invites them to do the same. The Apostle urges the believers in Philippi to stay in the fight and continue the battle of God’s upward call with him. In order to do that, Paul urges them to follow his example because there are no scriptures for the first Christians to read. Paul’s life is their handbook to living and being Christ-like. Because he has experienced God’s grace and now lives by faith, he stands as an example in stark contrast to the enemies of Christ.

Let’s become intentional about who we imitate and why. Paul’s invitation is a testimony to his character. It isn’t to boast or be proud but to point to a life changed by God’s grace. His testimony is real and his character is a priority. Can you identify a mature Christian you have made a conscious choice to imitate? Thank God for their wonderful influence on you. Then, ask yourself this question: What kind of follower would a new believer in Christ become if he or she imitated me?

 

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
– 1 Corinthians 11:1

I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
– 1 Corinthians 4:16

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By Donna Burns

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