Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. Philippians 3:17 (EHV).
Let’s imitate Paul in how we think, live, and worship. More than that, let’s imitate Jesus in how we think, love, and live.
And let’s admit it (again): we stink at modeling Jesus (and Paul). Jesus is upright and moral; I’m not, even as I know I’m forgiven. Jesus judges against His standard of loving justice; I’m just ‘judgy.’ Jesus is kind; I’ve been a jerk. Jesus forgives EVERY sin, even the little ones I’ve forgotten (because, news flash: there really is no such thing as a little sin. Sin is sin. It’s all rebellion against the Lord). Jesus loves perfectly; I love conditionally, even the people I love most.
So when someone (like me) asks me to follow Jesus better and join together in living better for Christ, I immediately know I have a lot of work to do. I’m convicted by it; I see my own sins of the past and want to do better now. Just yesterday, I found out that a long-time friend on Facebook (and in my personal circle as well) had de-friended me. This is someone I have known for years. Whether it was an accident or on purpose I don’t know but it made me wonder: did they see me or harsh things I’ve said online or things that are un-Christian and decide they’d had enough? Would I want to see myself from that person’s point of view and, if I did, would I like who I saw? Would I maybe not want to be friends with me, either?
Let’s be real: being de-friended online isn’t a big deal. But since all things serve Jesus, maybe this incident is a good thing. Another news flash: those sins of the past and my failures or unkind words? They’re in the past. Jesus has forgiven them. Who knows what hostile effect, what harm I’ve done, that I can’t undo? What should define me now is Christ alone. In order to cleave better to Him, I (and maybe we) need to do a better job on keeping my eye on Him, on those who model His behavior. That doesn’t mean compromising who we are (unless who we are compromises our faith). And that doesn’t mean not taking a stand (unless that stand makes you stand between Jesus and someone else). But it does mean watching Him and those who live out His behaviors and then changing how I think and act in response. It means real repentance. It means honest change and patience and caring.
Maybe it’s a bigger deal than it seems.
For further reading: 1 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Timothy 4:12, Philippians 3:17.
Lord Jesus, teach me today to better model my thoughts and actions after Yours and those of Your devout followers. And help me to see myself through someone else’s eyes.