Speaking the Truth in Love

Be Imitators of Me

Paul urges his readers to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). He is following the Lord so closely that the Corinthians would benefit from imitating his good conduct. That is, following Paul would make the church stronger and more mature. Would the Seagoville congregation benefit from following my example? Could I offer Paul’s invitation to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”?

Breaking this question down a bit makes it easier to answer. The Lord commands us to “stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” (Heb. 10:24-25). How strong would the church be if everyone imitated my attendance pattern? Would every assembly be a lively throng of joyful worshipers, or would services often be canceled for lack of interest? Jesus requires us to “go […] and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). How strong would the congregation be if everyone imitated my attitude toward evangelism? Would the church grow every year or wither away and die for lack of work? Paul teaches Christians to “command the respect of outsiders” (1 Thess. 4:12). What reputation in the community would the church have if everyone emulated my moral conduct and business dealings? Would the congregation be admired for its sincerity and integrity, or would it be the laughingstock of Dallas County? If everyone followed my example, how well would the church model the love for which it must be known (John 13:34-35)? Would people know Seagoville for its warmth, compassion, generosity, humility, and selflessness? Or would outsiders think of the church as distant, unsympathetic, conceited, and self-serving?

In fact, others in the church do imitate you and me—whether we realize it or not. The person following my example may be a child or grandchild, a spouse, a brother or sister, a friend. Whether this imitation is a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on us.

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