While I was reading the Bible this week, two words stopped me in my tracks.
Paul wrote those words in I Corinthians 4.
Paul had been imprisoned, flogged, left for dead, beaten with rods, pelted with stones, shipwrecked, been threatened with many dangers, suffered hunger, thirst, cold, nakedness, and sleeplessness. (II Corinthians 11)
Yet I wonder how much courage it took for him to extend that invitation.
I see that the world needs role models worthy of imitation.
My students look up to actors and singers and athletes, and I can understand why they’re drawn to those shining lives.
But what are they learning about God’s generous heart and wise ways and strong arms that hold us close when we need Him?
I want to draw their eyes away from the created ones
And call them to lift their eyes to the One who created them,
The Father who lovingly chose their purpose and their future.
But when they turn their eyes to me, standing in front of them each day,
The words “imitate me” stick in my throat & I shake in my shoes.
I know what they’ll see if they look too close,
The flaws and fears and failures,
The zeal too often smothered by cares of this world,
The boldness that melts away in the face of hardship,
The pure message diluted by shallowness and sin.
Then I remember other words Paul spoke,
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance,
Jesus came to save sinners—OF WHOM I AM CHIEF.“
So no matter that folks would see the pettiness and ego and impatience and failures,
Paul opened his heart and life to those around him—and to us so many centuries later.
He risked being labeled hypocrite and judged harshly and cast aside as worthless—so he could give HOPE to the rest of us,
The ones who need to see how God picks His children up after failures
And holds them until they can stand on their own
And gives them second and third and fourth chances
And loves them to the end no matter what.
Yes, some will look close and misunderstand and turn away.
But perhaps later, when they find themselves face down in the dust, in danger of being trampled by life, they’ll remember the example of a man or woman after God’s own heart,
An imitator not too proud to repent, ask forgiveness, and begin again.
An imitator who totally relies on God for the grace & courage to repeat with Paul,
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” I Corinthians 11:1
Thanks for stopping by today, my fellow imitators! Blessings, friends!
**Photo Backstory: I create my graphics from iPhone pics or free images from sites likeUnsplash& Death to Stock Photo plus the effects at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.Pass them on!
**Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
**Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
**Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link. Continue Reading…