Imitate Me

I have been reading the book of Philippines and studying it and one of the most consistent messages throughout the book is Paul saying,

 “Imitate me”. 

He is writing a letter to the Philippi people, whom he has a close relationship with and loves, from prison and he is saying look to me. Remember what I taught you when I was there standing by your side? Bringing the good news of Jesus to you, wrecking your ways, and bring light and life to you? I want you to keep working. I want you to keep seeking Christ and doing the holy things. “For it is God who works in you.” 

Paul was living and leading by example. He was traveling, he was suffering, but he was persisting. 

There is so much beauty in this, I am realizing.  

Paul is being brutally honest. He is writing to his friends, reflecting on their time together and encouraging them to take that as foundation. To take the truth he shared and build upon it. Living with understanding and pursuing lives of righteousness. 

But he was also true about the hard parts too. He was in jail and the people were very worried the Romans would execute Him. But He assured them through the only way he could, the truth of the possibilities but also how hard it was to live. Paul explains how he is reading to go Home. To see and live with Jesus face to face. To leave the struggles of this world behind Him. But He also sees the sacrifice needed here on Earth. The people who still hadn’t heard the news. The people who still needed encouragement and assurance. So he was an example of obedience and surrender to God’s will for His life, whatever that would be.

He said imitate me but he never said he was perfect. He didn’t act for his own glory. He didn’t make it seem easy. He revealed himself, his true self. He was honest about his struggles, his imperfections and his selfish desires. He was clear who was strengthening Him. He was joyful sharing the rough patches, the tough stops and the burdens. He never led by lies.

He is saying learn from me. For I made mistakes but my God is a God of grace. I am trying to be good enough but will never be on my own, but guess what I've learned? I never have to be because God does that for me.

Paul is leading people by telling the truth. By showing his struggles and the hard times he is enduring. He is literally sitting in jail writing this letter. He encouraged so clearly. He warned the people to be wary of false prophets. To seek God and righteousness. To stand firm in the Lord, not relying on their own abilities.

He was a leader who led by the example we need to be applying. We need step back and analyze our ways, habits and methods. Are we being honest? Are we declaring our imperfections so God’s perfectness can shine?  

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