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Imitate Me

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) -- Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Christian discipleship is about becoming something. It is not primarily about knowing things or doing things, though it certainly includes both. Discipleship is about becoming. The goal of discipleship is to form individuals to think, live, act, and be like the one who is the standard. Quarterback coaches try to disciple their quarterbacks into the ideal quarterback who knows how to read defenses, throw accurately, lead the team, and many other things. Sales coaches try to disciple sales reps to pitch products, show value, overcome objections, and close deals. Discipleship is always about forming people into the ideal standard of that thing. 

Today’s passage teaches us about this for Christians. We read, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Paul writes about imitation in this text. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, or so we’re told. To imitate someone is to mirror their lives. Imitation is about adopting their ways of behaving, thinking, and conducting themselves. Christian discipleship is about imitation. There is ultimately only one person we are to imitate: Jesus. 

Jesus is THE ideal human being. He is God incarnate, but He is fully man. As the Second Adam, He shows us what mankind is supposed to look like. His words, His teachings, His actions, His character, are what humans should imitate. Each individual person is made by God with unique personalities and giftings, but how we use those is governed by the standard Jesus displays and teaches for us. 

So why does Paul say to imitate him? Because he is living to imitate Christ. In so far as someone is seeking to imitate Christ in their life, we could say that person is also worthy of imitation. This is how discipleship works. One person lives their life to follow Jesus and live for Him in all aspects of their life. Then they help others to learn to do the same. So much of the discipleship process is sharing with others what we’ve learned or experienced along the way. We are guiding them on how to follow like we do. 

Are you living a life worthy of imitation? Are you walking with others whose lives are worth imitation? Discipleship is all about this dynamic. Follow Jesus and imitate His character, and invite others to imitate you as you go.

Reflection & Journal:
- Why does Paul say to imitate him?
- What is discipleship? What are the main aspects of Christian discipleship?
- How does this passage challenge you with discipling others and being discipled by others?

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