“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”
—1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT
In Matthew 23:2-3 (NLT) Jesus had some strong words to say about the religious leaders of his day: “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.”
These people knew the Scriptures and had all the “right answers” but they did not live by what they preached and thus their teaching had no authority.
Paul, on the other hand, wrote to the Corinthian church, “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT). He was so confident in his way of life that he could tell his listeners not only to obey his teachings but also to follow his example.
Could you tell the people around you to imitate everything you do? Are you confident enough about your way of life to tell others to follow your example?
Let’s be honest: most of us (myself included) would hesitate before telling someone to copy everything we do. That’s the thing: we all have flaws.
But before you throw in the towel, remember this: Paul, the one who invited others to imitate him, wasn’t perfect either. He actually called himself the “worst” of sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15).
And yet Paul, with his flaws, declared to the religious leaders in Acts 23:1 (NLT), “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”
How could he say that?
Because living with a clear conscience is not about being free from mistakes but about repenting and turning to God every time we make one.
An attitude of surrender to God, not perfection, is what qualifies us to be able to call others to follow our example.
Here is a short prayer to carry with you today:
Breathe in: Jesus,
Breathe out: I surrender to you.