What I’m Afraid To Say

Renee Ann Smith —  November 30, 2015 — 18 Comments

While I was reading the Bible this week, two words stopped me in my tracks.

“Imitate me.”

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.

Follow me Imitate me Paul Jesus

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,

Imitate me Paul Jesus Follow me

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” I Corinthians 11:1

Thanks for stopping by today, my fellow imitators! Blessings, friends!

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Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

18 responses to What I’m Afraid To Say

  1. Just beautiful! How we are loved and called to be like Him, flaws and all..we are invited into the mystery of being transformed — to be imitators even when we feel unworthy! Visiting from #smallwonder today!

  2. My dear Renee, what a beautifully written post. Such blessing and encouragement in the words you shared…words that inspired me.

    Indeed, may we totally rely on the Lord and how I pray I imitate Him in ALL I do and say. Thank you for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. You are a joy!

  3. Maybe the risk we are called to is to allow the life of Christ to live in us as we are, this is what I see Paul doing – allowing God’s grace to give us confidence that others will see Christ in the midst of our imperfections. As a mom of four young kids, they DO imitate me and I have to accept that what they see isn’t perfection, but reliance on grace. Thanks for linking Renee.

  4. Setting a good example is no easy task, but when you are able to follow the lead of your Savior it becomes doable. Love this message!

  5. What an important message that so many need to hear! So often we can feel like we’re “not good enough” or “someone else is better”, but it’s true when you say asking forgiveness, admitting the need for grace, and moving on is such a profound statement in this world.
    I found you via Coffee & Conversations. Thanks for sharing this there!

  6. This is so inspiring. We are afraid to say look at me to see Jesus but we are all the hurting world can see, It just makes me so aware that I’m the only Jesus people see and I want to each day show God’s heart to others. Blessings.

  7. You are the face of Christ to a world that doesn’t see Him. You are the warmth, the understanding, the empathy, the compassion of Christ to children.

    You are sincere and they will see that.
    And you will make a difference in the lives that allow you in.

    Keep up the good work!

    They’ll see the “heroes” fail.
    They’ll see you fail too. But the difference will be that they’ll see you get back up again and love them well.

  8. Sometimes, I think it is in those little perfections that others are drawn to us. Rather than put on a perfect false front, it is our weaknesses that, when revealed in light of our devotion to Christ, that shows the strength of God. Such good thoughts, Renee.

  9. wow! great post that requires some significant introspection! What would people do if they really “imitated me?” a worthy questions, since the truth is, that especially those of us with kids know that they will copy our actions more than our words. sobering thoughts!

  10. This is such an intriguing challenge for me this week. I get so caught up in imitating those around me to fit in I sometimes forget who I am supposed to be looking to. Thank you for reminding me!

  11. Hi Renee!
    I’m one of your neighbors on Thought Provoking Thursday. This post gave me pause as the topic has at other times and places about how well I am imitating Him. Thankfully, your inclusion of Paul’s words extend grace. Your students are blessed to have you as their teacher and to know that even if you are imperfect as they are as well, we are saved by and live by grace!
    Blessings on your day!
    Pam

  12. Beautifully written and such a great reminder to “Imitate Christ.” Thank you Renee.

  13. What a beautiful insight you share here,

    “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.”

    Authentic Christians, living their lives in sinful bodies, a Savior who has redeemed them and continually picks them back up again and whispers in their ear, “This is the way, walk in it…”

    Thanks for such an edifying post!

  14. Renee, this was sooooo beautiful! Such an eloquent description of our attempts to follow God well. We mess up, but repent and begin again. I am so thankful God sees my heart and forgives me. I pray others see my heart as well and not only my failures because our testimony is not of our perfections, but of our need for Jesus.
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

  15. Renee, thanks for your encouragement to let the light of Christ shine through us even if it is with a little fear and trembling! Thanks, too, for linking up at Mondays @ Soul Survival. Blessings!

  16. Renee, I just wanted to let you know that I included your post in a roundup I was working on. Stop by for a visit and don’t forget to linkup on Mondays @ Soul Survival. Have a great week!

  17. Hi, Renee! 🙂 I found this post so encouraging, especially as a pastor’s wife who feels her own flaws deeply! None of us are worthy, yet in Christ, we are all capable of living out our faith for others. Thanks for sharing this with us at Grace and Truth last week!
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

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