“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
If you approached someone in your church and said to them, “You should imitate me”, what do you think their response would be? My guess is that they would probably smile and chuckle, thinking that you were joking. That does seem like an odd conversation starter. And I’m fairly certain that would be the reaction I would get as well.
Saying to someone “you should imitate me” at a first glance appears to be quite prideful and arrogant. This is essentially telling someone that you are the standard of living, and they need to be like you. But, looking back at this statement made by Paul, he did not stop at that point. He continued on and said, “as I am of Christ”.
To say “imitate me” is much different than “imitate me, as I am of Christ”. The first statement set yourself as the standard. The second statement sets Christ as the standard.
Not only does saying this set the standard to be that of Jesus Christ, it does something further. It actually sets a standard for yourself. There is accountability in saying to someone else, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” This is putting your life on display for others to inspect and see if you are truly walking in the ways of the one you are following.
As children of God, we are to display His glory in our lives to this world. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to follow Him in everything, and also called to make disciples. Discipleship in essence is to help others follow Jesus. And how incredibly important is it that our lives are to reflect Jesus to those who we are discipling.
So we should be thinking, if someone were to imitate your life, would it bring them closer or further away from Christ?
Even more, imitating Jesus Christ ascribes to Him that He is truly both Lord and Savior. And it tells the world that He is worth following, no matter the cost. Imitating Christ says that I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
Let us imitate Paul and say, “You should imitate me because I am imitating Christ.”